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42PercentHealth

Building My First Gaming PC

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Never done this before... any advice? 'Cuz if I don't know what I'm doing, I tend to err on the side of thrift. I want something capable of playing reasonably high-res games (e.g. Doom '16 or Legend of Grimrock) while recording in 60 fps. I also want to be able to live-stream, in case that makes a difference. How much CPU, RAM, GPU, and Ethernet do I want minimum?

 

Any brands to favor or avoid?

 

Anything else I'm going to wish I knew 2 weeks from now?

 

Thanks!

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Doom '16 is fucking heavy on your resources. I was running a GTX 950 and having trouble. 

 

CPU: Intel Quad-Core i-series is the go-to; if you can't afford it, you can make do with an 8-core AMD/Ryzen chip but it's gonna be HOT as fuck. You'll want to look into a really good aftermarket cooler if you go the AMD route.

 

GPU: A GTX 1060 will be sufficient. It'll out perform my GTX 970, and that card is a POWERHOUSE. I wouldn't trust anything less than a GTX 970. Check https://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html for a very nice chart :)

 

RAM: 8GB MINIMUM, but this will become obsolete very soon. I'd recommend shooting for 16GB of DDR4. 

 

Ethernet: Hardwired, do not go wireless unless you want interference. Go cable since DSL caps out on super low speeds. Cable providers suck and they hold govt-sanctioned monopolies in your area. If you pay for 25down, you'll probably only get like 6down. I'm paying $85/mo for 100Mbps down package. Anything less than that will struggle depending on how many people are on the network, what you are doing, etc.

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What he said, plus don't skimp on the power supply. Corsair is a good brand, you'd want at least 550W or 650W, but there's also this calculator thing to guess how much your rig would want. https://outervision.com/power-supply-calculator

 

And you may want an SSD for your windows drive and a large terabyte standard hard drive as well to install more stuff on. But Windows starts up and runs very nicely on an SSD, so most are into having one of those nowadays. I actually don't install games on it since mine is just 60 gigs though.

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@stru Yeah, a co-worker of mine recommended avoiding AMD. Said he built a PC with one, and he's been regretting it for the past 10 years -- apparently they don't age well, and they have some strange limitations on multi-core processing, GPU interfacing, etc.

 

Thanks for the pointers, guys!

 

Any ball-park estimations on total cost?

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I've used Nvidia, AMD and Intel throughout the years. Nivida gave me hell multiple times and I've stuck with AMD for years. You only really know from personal experience which brand you'll prefer.

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Probably close to 1000 dollars, maybe 900. I only build or get a PC maybe twice a decade, and I've never been able to get much cheaper than that, even buying it all on newegg etc.

 

Taking a quick look at newegg, a good i7 processor for example is at least $340, a GTX 1070 $290 (you want the one with more than 3gb of ram, my 970 has 4gb for example - though effectively 3.5gb on that model), that's $630 for two components right there. Plus a good case (make sure to have good airflow, cable management etc), good motherboard, etc. Good luck!

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A good Intel chip will last you 7-8 years minimum. I've never had issues with Nvidia GPUs, but I haven't worked with AMD GPUs either. All I know is I remember an old ATI chip blowing up on me years ago. I absolutely HATE AMD CPUs though. People tell me all the time "AMDs are awesome! I have no problems with mine!". I beg to differ. I've had one blow up on me, one DOA, and another where only 1 out of the 6 cores worked. Probably a Mobo/BIOS issue but I wasn't gonna stick around and find out. 

 

 

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56 minutes ago, stru said:

I was running a GTX 950 and having trouble. 

To be honest, it depends on how good do you want your graphics. I ran that on a GTX 950 and is perfectly fine, but I'm the guy who doesn't really care about graphics, and I can't test the later stages because that's not my computer, and because of this mind, I am still using my GTX 560, which is junk ;P

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29 minutes ago, GarrettChan said:

To be honest, it depends on how good do you want your graphics. I ran that on a GTX 950 and is perfectly fine, but I'm the guy who doesn't really care about graphics, and I can't test the later stages because that's not my computer, and because of this mind, I am still using my GTX 560, which is junk ;P

Really? Even on lowest settings and resolution at the absolute lowest, I was dropping to under 15fps in some outdoor areas. It was really bad :/ Could've been that my drivers were out of date or something but those particle effects were brutal. 

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Just now, stru said:

Really? Even on lowest settings and resolution at the absolute lowest, I was dropping to under 15fps in some outdoor areas. It was really bad :/ Could've been that my drivers were out of date or something but those particle effects were brutal. 

Yeah, probably you haven't updated your driver, or that particular 950 GTX is flawed. Sometimes when a thing is actually flawed, you can't tell and it gives you misunderstanding about things.

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2 minutes ago, GarrettChan said:

Yeah, probably you haven't updated your driver, or that particular 950 GTX is flawed. Sometimes when a thing is actually flawed, you can't tell and it gives you misunderstanding about things.

It was a possibility. Every other game floated on it though! Overwatch on max settings, and my friend who has my old PC is running Battlefield One on high so idk. I think it was an optimization issue :l

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Before you purchase anything go to pcpartpicker, select all parts you have in mind and CHECK IF THE PARTS ARE COMPATIBLE

A lot of people make the mistake of buying RAM or other shit that just doesn't fit in their motherboard and end up wasting a good chunk of money for that 

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Remember it's easier to upgrade the GPU and add RAM later.

 

SSD is an absolute must even if you only get say 256GB and keep the OS and essential programs on there. I have a 4GB graphics card (R9 380x) and it seems to do the job on all the modern games i've tried it on. Worth spending more on a good CPU straight away and buying a power supply with headroom. Shitty cheap power supplies do not deliver the wattage they promise in practice, do not be fooled by them.

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I will agree on what @Red suggested.

 

Some tips:

Bear in mind that every motherboard is built with a certain processor or line of processors in mind. A processor needs the motherboard to have a specific socket, where you can place it. For an example an i5 6600k will fit only in a FCLGA1151 socket (weird names at times, don't bother learning them, just search the info of each processor you consider for your system and somewhere on the internet you will find the socket) 

 

You then need thermal paste (liquid that goes between the CPU and the CPU cooler, for heat reduction). Those are sold in syringes, but you only need to put a drop of paste on the CPU (you don't want it to flood everywhere).

 

For a CPU cooler, you can either go liquid or air cooled. Lately the air coolers are very reliable, but I don't think they can match liquid. It is your choice here (liquid is always more expensive than air and air can do the job just fine).

 

Also every motherboard needs a specific type of RAM (DDR1, DDR2, DDR3, DDR4, with DDR4 being the latest iirc).

 

Now about graphics cards, there are PCIe slots in the motherboard and if you are getting a new graphics card with a new motherboard, I guess it will be ok (partpicker could indeed solve you the trouble of searching).

 

DON'T FORGET about the PSU!!! One friend of mine bought a crappy PSU and while it promised it gave 400w to his PC, it had an efficiency of 60% or something, so it gave way less and his PC's performance could have been better. I suggest Corsair here.

 

And for storage you can go HDD or SSD. SSDs are faster and more expensive, but I think their price is already falling.

 

 

I suggest that you watch a few videos on youtube, about assembling PCs, to get an idea. It really helped me when I was starting out and I learned many things.

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15 hours ago, wheresthebeef said:

Make sure you get SSD and a 144hz monitor

SSD yes, 144hz monitor no. If you can afford it, cool. But I've been using 60hz and love it. A nice 60hz BenQ will beat out a cheap 144hz Vizio TV. 

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Mmmkaaay... I have most of a build put together on pcpartpicker, but I don't have the foggiest idea how to choose a case. The internet sages are saying that choosing the right case is critical for cooling & space & stuff. Is there a nifty little formula I can use to figure out how much space I need? If I get one that's too small, stuff won't fit, but what is the disadvantage to getting one too big? How can I tell if ventilation is sufficient? Can you give me any pointers based on the screenie?

 

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Thanks again, guys!

 

EDIT: I think I figured it out... there is a "max. video card length" field, which I can make sure is sufficient. Sounds like the motherboards are pretty standard in size, so that shouldn't be an issue.

Edited by 42PercentHealth : Might have figured it out...

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Regarding cases, the form factor that the vast majority of motherboards use is "ATX" and then there are (smaller) variants of that. An ATX case should usually have additional mounts for these smaller variants. But if you get a case that is strictly, say, Mini ATX, then there is no sane way you will be able to mount a larger board.

 

I wouldn't worry too much about a case's ability to manage heat, this is largely a marketing thing imo. Heat management is more complicated than just the case... depends on room temperature, heatsinks, fans, and the general layout of your components (e.g. two heat generating components being next to eachother will heat eachother up).

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I don't remember but I think my case came with both fan and PS integrated, cost wasn't higher than average cases without either and haven't had issues, I'm sure you can search for cases with either or both in that site, three birds one stone, but the only problem then would be managing space.

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Holy jesus just looking at gpu prices today is disheartening. I built an entire doom4 machine ~2 years ago for the price that 1 gpu is now... is this just the cryptocurrency craze murdering supply?

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Searched for my GPU on pcpartpicker, it doesn't show prices, but on Amazon its twice what it cost me last December, more even. 

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I'm fairly confident (perhaps foolishly so) that I can get some of these parts cheaper than the prices listed here. I'll do some pretty thorough searching around before I plunk down any cash!

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To be fair Nvidia shit has always been ridiculous with their prices as far as I'm concerned, when I was offered that one in your list it was about the same.

 

For the record I have a Radeon RX 480 8GB, have been able to run every recent game I've tried on Ultra at 60 fps so far, or 30 if its locked or whatever (don't think my monitor can show higher?), including Doom 4.

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Research the most minute drawbacks on your Nvidia and AMD cards before you decide. Someone mentioned the former being strange with cores or something.

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@42PercentHealth lord, that's a powerhouse lol nice picks! one suggestion I have though is to look into another HDD to work alongside your SSD for more storage. 500GB on an SSD will use up REAL quick.

 

SSDs also aren't meant to be written to like HDDs are. SSD is good for an OS and maybe a few games, but use HDD for AAA games that are like 100GB and for all personal files like videos, music, porn, etc. I have 3x 2TB WD Black HDDs in my PC. 

 

If you want a good case, every NZXT has been phenomenal. They make them so easy to build and maintain. I had an Apevia and Cooler Master before, and nothing comes close to the NZXT Source 530. 

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6 minutes ago, stru said:

@42PercentHealth lord, that's a powerhouse lol nice picks! one suggestion I have though is to look into another HDD to work alongside your SSD for more storage. 500GB on an SSD will use up REAL quick.

Thanks! :-)

 

Yeah, given the price of HDD, there's no reason not to, I guess... I don't usually store a lot of music or pictures or anything, but I should probably back up my YT videos at least.

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3 minutes ago, 42PercentHealth said:

I don't usually store a lot of music or pictures or anything, but I should probably back up my YT videos at least.

If you're doing what I do, and stream directly to a video file and then upload it to YT, try not to do this on an SSD. I hear this causes them to burn out much quicker. Not sure if it's just a myth or not (I've read it on a few articles and forums before), but the one SSD that burned out on me was the one I was streaming to on my temp computer last year. 

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