As a self-professed geek, I commonly find myself doing gaming PC builds for fun utilizing the power of the web to get the best deals possible. So I thought, why not parlay that into a blog that will highlight the virtues of system building and spread the good news to the uninitiated?
This series will explain the basics of system building, provide historical perspective, and hopefully give some useful ideas on what type of hardware to purchase. All builds will consist of "sweet spot" builds. In this case a ~$500 "console-like" build, and a ~$1000 "big-build".
Let us begin!
Where to buy?
We're making this simple. No used parts. No bidding on ebay. Just newegg and tigerdirect, with a dash of amazon. My advice: you're better off just doing everything through Newegg and getting an OS through Amazon or MS.
What parts are needed for a complete build?
Let's start from the top down: Case, Power Supply, Motherboard, CPU, GPU, RAM, Harddrive, Optical drive, KB/M, OS.
-Case-> Holds all components and looks awesome. We like quality brands like Thermaltake, Raidmax, Coolermaster, Lian-li, and Silverstone.
-PSU/Power Supply-> This powers all of your hardware and is likely the most critical component of your build. Do not skimp on this. Components have TDP or max power comsumption ratings, so do the math(esp. CPU and GPU) and leave some headroom for safety and possible dual-graphics upgrades in the future.
-Motherboard-> The chipset that your components plug into. The central hub, so to say. We like brands like Asus, Gigabyte, and MSi, don't we?:P You'll want to make sure you get the right socket for your CPU, PCI E(2.0/3.0) x16 for GPU, and appropriate RAM speed support(i.e. DDR3-1600, DDR3-2400)
-CPU-> Gonna be either Intel(the best quality and performance, but highest price) or AMD(slower than Intel's best, but great price/performance ratio). We like at least a quad-core CPU. Make sure to match CPU socket type with the correct motherboard(i.e. AMD uses AM3+, FM1, FM2).
-GPU-> This is the most critical component for gaming, the graphics card. We like anyting with good reviews and lots of games bundled!
-RAM-> System memory. For our builds we'll be aiming at the 4-8GB range. Preferrably speeds of DDR3-1600 and above. Make sure to check your motherboard to see what speed and capacity you have.
-Harddrive-> This is where you install your games! We want SATA 3Gb/s or 6Gb/s. Capacity ranging from 500GB to 1TB. Look for high ratings and max capacity.
-Optical Drive-> Your DVD/Blu-Ray drive. You can get drives that only read data, or upgrade to a burner that can do both.
-Keyboard/Mouse-> An often overlooked, but very important part of a build. Don't skimp on the mouse if you want to do serious gaming. Razer will stand out as a popular and quality brand.
-Operating System-> Windows 7 and 8 will be the OS of choice. Make sure to get 64-bit version OEM System Builder version, not the upgrade. 64-bit gives the ability to use more than a combined 4GB of memory between RAM and the GPU's VRAM(Video RAM).
Rig- Your PC | Proc- CPU | HDD- Harddrive | PSU - Power Supply | Mobo- Motherboard | KB/M- Keyboard/Mouse | Benchie- Benchmarks | OC- Overclock(-ed,)
-Always read the customer feedback. Don't buy crap because it's cheap.
-Check benchmarks before building. Especially GPU benchmarks. You'll want to know how well each graphics card performs in your anticipated titles before ordering. Tom's Hardware and andandtech are good sites to check
-Don't overclock without pro advice from PC forums, aftermarket Heatsink/Fan, and quality thermal compound like Arctic Silver 5. Only use proven overclockers like Black Edition CPUs.
-Don't sweat the tech details! Just make sure the parts are compatible and worry about how they work until later. When you make a burger you just want quality tasting meat, not to know what's inside the colon of the animal at slaughter.