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So basically, I want to get a gaming PC. I have been playing on Steam a lot lately, and all of my friends are talking about all the epic stuff on PC too, so now I want one. The only problem is that I have no idea where to start. My plan is to get one sometime over the summer, either buy building it myself somehow or by just buying one normally. Like I said before, I have no idea where to start. My price range is probably between $800-$1300, and I really don't want a laptop. If anyone who has had a PC or has one now, if you could please just recommend brands and such that would really help me out a lot. I'm probably going to be asking my friends about this stuff too, so I'll update my 'progress' as it happens. 

 

Sorry if any of this is vague, but I know almost nothing about PCs or their parts. That is where you come in.

Edited by SpoonArtist

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I never recommend buying a PC pre-built.  Ask everyone you know if they know how to put a computer together.  Everyone.  If one of them can do it, get them to help you.  If none of them know how, at least find a site that lets you choose parts and send them to you, or pay a little extra and have them build it for you.  But pre-built computers are always bad, and if they aren't bad, they're overpriced.  End of story.  My PC cost me around a thousand dollars to build and would probably cost at least 50% more than that pre-built.  

 

I was in your position once.  The best way to learn how to put together a comptuer is just to look it up.  Look up a list of parts you need to build a computer.  Look up tutorials on putting a PC together.  It's not hard by any means.

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Hmmm. I was in your position about 6 years ago now. I wanted a decent gaming PC, but had no idea where to get one, which components to get, which components are better and why, etc.

 

I had a friend at the time who was in the same boat. The internet told us that buying pre-built was a big no-no, and doing so would end up with us wasting a lot of money. And the internet was right.

The next option was to build it ourselves. We really wanted to, but having no experience or anything meant our parents were a bit sceptical of paying around £500 to build something that could go wrong in so many ways.

So the third option, and the one I'll always recommend for first-time PC buyers, is to have one built by a company over the internet. A lot of companies that offer this service are super-helpful, and will have guides and information on different parts somewhere on their site. They tend to be well-built, too. The one I ordered 6 years ago (from a company called PC Specialist) lasted up until about 2 weeks ago with only 2 major problems a couple years back, which the company were willing to fix for free, anyway.

 

Having said this, buying pre-built these days isn't as bad as it was 5 years ago. You can still pick up a relatively cheap pre-built rig and upgrade it yourself for an extra £150-200 or so.  :-) 

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Thank you for responding guys! I have found a bunch of useful websites already, and one mentioned an anti-static wristband is needed to make sure all of your parts stay safe, do I actually need one? It is only like $5, so I don't really mind buying it. Also, what is the difference between gaming keyboards and standard keyboards? I really don't want to spend $130 on a keyboard alone. 

 

EDIT: 400th post!

Edited by SpoonArtist
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You can get those anti-static wristbands if you absolutely don't want to risk anything, but I usually just touch a radiator or something else I know is grounded before I open the PC up instead.

 

As for gaming keyboards, I'm probably the worst person to ask about them. In my opinion, they're a nice luxury. Having used other people's gaming keyboards, I know that (for me) they make using a keyboard faster, and more comfortable...but I wouldn't feel right spending a lot on one.

For the record, I'm still using an old DELL brand keyboard and mouse from the 90's. As long as it works; I ain't replacing it!  ;-) 

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I don't really get the difference between gaming and standard, I think I'll just get a standard mechanical keyboard and use the money on something else. Also, do either of you know what a solid state hard drives vs. other types of hard drives?

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Gaming keyboards tend to be mechanical over membrane.  Membrane are those long rubber things that are under the keys that press against the board to activate the key, and tend to be inaccurate over time.  Mechanical use switches in each individual key that click when you press them to affirm the press.  They are more expensive but much better.  Then after that, there are different types of switches in the keys.  The main ones are Cherry MX Blue, Brown, Black, and Red.  They all work, feel, and sound differently.  I recommend looking into each if you plan on buying mechanical, as everyone likes different things. I plan on maybe getting a Blue Red switch keyboard at some point, but they're darn expensive.

 

There's also a bunch of other types of switches, but are much less common.  Click here for more detailed information on each type of switch, could come in handy.

 

SSDs vs HDDs are a huge thing right now.  As you know, a standard HDD uses a re-writable disc as the method of storing data.  Over the years, these can break due to constant usage of the disc.  SSDs are a new technology that doesn't use discs.  I won't go into detail on how they work since that's boring, but as a result of the way they work, they are a LOT faster.  The drawback is they're still far more expensive than HDDs are right now, so I'd hold back for a few years on getting one.  If you do get one, just get a 64GB one to put your OS on if you're building it yourself, since Windows will boot up faster than you can say "My God, this is so fast".

 

Lastly, as for the anti-static wristband: I've never used one.  I've fooled around inside of computers many a time without one and never fried anything.  Wherever you're working on your computer, just try and not be on carpet.  That's the main one.  I built my computer in my room, and I just stood on a slab of wood the entire time to avoid creating static.  What most people do is just touch the outside of the case every thirty seconds or so while you're messing around, just to discharge any minute amounts of static that could have been created.  It's entirely up to you if you want to buy one, since they are cheap, but I never have had to, even the first time I built a computer.

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http://www.logicalincrements.com/

http://pcpartpicker.com/

 

Behold, for these sites are the Gods of PC building. The first one will give you tons of info on all of the parts involved with building a PC and give you an idea of what parts will work well together at different price ranges, while the second one lets you gather a group of parts and see if they'll work together nicely, and it'll even show you the cheapest sites to buy them from (Newegg is usually the best place to go though). I recently built a PC in your price range and I'm very happy with it so far; here's what I wound up getting:

 

GPU - EVGA GeForce GTX 770, although I forget if I got 2GB or 4GB. Mine came with 3 free games: Batman Arkham Origins, AC4, and Splinter Cell Blacklist, so pay attention to deals.

CPU - Intel i5-4670K (identical to the i5-4670 except it costs $5 more and can overclock, which is fancy PC stuff I don't understand)

RAM - 8GB that my friend gave me, dunno what kind

HDD - Seagate Barracuda 1TB

Case - Corsair 400R

PSU - Thermaltake 650W

Motherboard - Asus Z87-A; the only bad thing I've noticed about this is that there's no input for Digital Audio; there's a Digital Audio Optical port, but no Digital Audio. Just depends on what kind of speakers you have.

DVD Drive - something from Asus, I forget what model exactly (DVD drives are optional but I highly recommend getting one. Just do it.)

Keyboard - Microsoft Sidewinder

Mouse - CM Storm Xornet

Monitor - Another thing by Asus, it's 22" (I think) but there's like a bajillion models and I can't find it. Note that if your monitor doesn't have speakers built into it, you're gonna want speakers.

OS - Windows 7 Home Premium; I bought the retail copy because it can be installed on future PCs, as long as it's only on one PC at a time. The alternative is the OEM version which is tied to the mobo you first install it on, so you only get to use it once, plus it's only meant for manufacturers and it's debatable whether building your own PC makes you a "manufacturer". The retail version is basically a legitimate copy of Windows 7 for life, which is smarter in my opinion, but some people will disagree with me on that. Just buy whichever you want, just make sure you get the 64-bit version. (Or go Linux like a BAMF)

 

As for a grounding strap, I definitely recommend using one. They're pretty cheap, and overall it's way less stressful to just use one instead of praying to Gaben that your hands don't carry static and accidentally break everything you just bought while you're assembling it. All you have to do is wrap it around your wrist and then attach the clip to something grounded, like the middle screw of an electrical outlet (you'd have to unscrew it a little bit to clamp it securely). Also, you might need a power strip to plug everything into, there are usually like 3 or 4 things you have to plug in. I didn't go with an SSD because you don't really need it, just kind of a luxury (although if you're willing to dish out the extra money, I bet it's worth it).

 

Also be SUPER DUPER CAREFUL if you build it yourself; just follow whatever instructions you're using carefully and don't plug your PSU into a wall outlet until it's all built. I can help you more when the time comes if you want. Anyways, do some research by reading up on the parts on the first link I posted and then go parts-picking on the second link. Have fun!

Edited by GoldenGhost

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I have a lot of reading to do... there are so many links here... But I don't mind, I have nothing better to do and you guys gave me a lot more help than I expected, which is fantastic!  :-D

 

I also just came back from Staples and ordered the grounding cable for only like $4, so I guess that is one thing off of my list. My long, long list.

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So I asked one of my friends about it and he gave me this: http://pcpartpicker.com/user/Synyster/saved/3tkb

It is a bit more expensive than I hoped, but I'm still looking over it myself to see if I can substitute anything.

 

EDIT: I have a mouse, and I'm probably going to BestBuy for the keyboard.

Edited by SpoonArtist

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So I asked one of my friends about it and he gave me this: http://pcpartpicker.com/user/Synyster/saved/3tkb

It is a bit more expensive than I hoped, but I'm still looking over it myself to see if I can substitute anything.

 

EDIT: I have a mouse, and I'm probably going to BestBuy for the keyboard.

Overall a pretty nice build for your needs. You're gonna want to make sure that case will fit everything; the dimensions are noticeably smaller than the 400R I have, and this is a similar build, so you might need to get the 400R. Also, a 120 GB SSD is pretty overkill for your purposes; the OS only needs 16 GB, and I doubt you have 104 GB-worth of programs you need to put on there. You could scale down to something smaller if you want, it's up to you really. Also I have that same CPU and it came with a cooling fan, so I'm not sure you need a CPU cooler. The monitor has speakers, which is nice (although I don't see them... they're ninja speakers). The mobo is juuuust fast enough for the RAM he picked out, which is great but you won't be getting any faster RAM with that mobo, and I dunno if that's something people usually plan for. It also doesn't support SLI, which lets you connect multiple GPUs for god-like processing power, but you're not doing that anyways, so it looks alright. And finally, I notice the PSU he picked works fine (650W is perfect) and is Gold-certified, but the one I got is significantly cheaper... it's 650W and Bronze certified, and I have no problems with it so far, so I feel like there's not much of a difference. Other than that, it looks fine; everything works (again, double check on the case size) and it looks great! Don't forget you're gonna need an OS though, and depending on what you get, it could be anywhere from free to $90 to $300. Edited by GoldenGhost

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 (again, double check on the case size) 

How do I do this? Like how do I see if it will all fit in the case?

 

Also I'm planning on getting Windows 7 Premium, which is only about $120.

Edited by SpoonArtist

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 (again, double check on the case size) 

How do I do this? Like how do I see if it will all fit in the case?

 

Also I'm planning on getting Windows 7 Premium, which is only about $120.

 

In most cases (get it, cases?) a mid tower will fit all you need.  The thing that matters most is the mobo style.  Most mobos and cases are ATX.  That's all you need to really look for, and making sure there's optimal room to place cables if you're going non-modular for your PSU.  I store my extra cords in the empty hard drive bay at the front of the case, and that works just fine for air flow and everything.

 

In the end, it never hurts to buy the tower you want, and measure things.  Or look up dimensions on a specific case online and comparing them to the case you want.

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So I think I have pretty much nailed down my build. Based on all of what I have read on here and other sites, I think this is final. The only thing I might change would be the case, in case (hehe puns) I want anything a bit flashier. Comments? Questions? Suggestions? (All very helpful and much appreciated)

 

Thank you guys so much for all you have done! 

Edited by SpoonArtist

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So I think I have pretty much nailed down my build. Based on all of what I have read on here and other sites, I think this is final. The only thing I might change would be the case, in case (hehe puns) I want anything a bit flashier. Comments? Questions? Suggestions? (All very helpful and much appreciated)

 

Thank you guys so much for all you have done! 

 

As long as it fits everything and has good a airflow, it doesn't matter what case you have.  Hence why I still am using the $40 mid-tower I bought when I built my PC last year.

 

Going with the Hyper 212, eh?  Very classic.  I refuse to use one since I don't want to deal with the installation process, but it's a proven champ.  I personally am going with something a bit more flashy from my favorite company when it comes to air cooling.

 

I recommend changing your choice of RAM, though.  A single stick of 8GB memory isn't recommended.  I always tell people to go with a dual-channel setup for RAM.  So either two 4GB sticks for 8GB, or just go for the full 16GB with two 8GB sticks.  Otherwise it's just too much pressure to be putting one one stick of RAM, and it can overheat a lot easier under heavy load.  Starting off, I'd say just go with two 4GB sticks of 1600 RAM.  I use the classic G.Skill Ripjaws X RAM, and they work amazingly.  Planning on upgrading to the 16GB set in the coming year when I start upgrading my PC.

 

SDD and HDD combo is a good plan, I like that.

 

One thing concerning me is your choice of PSU.  I've always been iffy with Rosewill products.  Reading reviews, their PSUs are generally good (including that one), but I find it hard for myself personally to trust them after some things I've read about other PSUs of theirs.  Going for the Gold 80+ Cert is a good plan, though, which means it's tested to be a generally good PSU.  I will personally swear by Silverstone for PSUs as I haven't had any issues with them, and they're solid as a rock.

 

Your case is very minimalist, but seems good enough.  Compared specs to my case, and mine seems to be a bit longer, but your dimensions are similar otherwise.  Long cases aren't always good, anyway.

 

Other than all of that, seems like you made good choices.  If you take anything I say to heart, really think about the whole RAM thing.  You can ignore everything else, but I recommend you really think about going with two 4GB sticks.

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I recommend you really think about going with two 4GB sticks.

What's the difference between 1 8GB and 2 4GB? (Personally I have 4 2GB)

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I asked one of my other friends about the build this morning and he came up with this thing. He likes to spend money. He put in the 16 GB dual channel RAM and even swapped out the power supply for something a bit more powerful. He also put in a new GPU, and it looks like he is trying to make me get the PC of his dreams. One thing I didn't like was how he ditched the SSD, he says it doesn't make a difference but I don't believe him. I am really not very sure if I can afford it right now, but I'm sure it will run like a beast. 

 

Also you guys know how I said I was going to BestBuy for a keyboard?

 

EDIT: I have a mouse, and I'm probably going to BestBuy for the keyboard.

 

It turns out that BestBuy is really a tablet and TV store, with a tiny little PC section in the back.

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I asked one of my other friends about the build this morning and he came up with this thing. He likes to spend money. He put in the 16 GB dual channel RAM and even swapped out the power supply for something a bit more powerful. He also put in a new GPU, and it looks like he is trying to make me get the PC of his dreams. One thing I didn't like was how he ditched the SSD, he says it doesn't make a difference but I don't believe him. I am really not very sure if I can afford it right now, but I'm sure it will run like a beast. 

 

Also you guys know how I said I was going to BestBuy for a keyboard?

 

EDIT: I have a mouse, and I'm probably going to BestBuy for the keyboard.

 

It turns out that BestBuy is really a tablet and TV store, with a tiny little PC section in the back.

 

Yeah, if you have a Micro Center in the area, go there.  I think there's one in every state, but I don't know how close you might be to it.  They're the best place to get anything computer related.

 

And I personally like the first build better, but like I said, different RAM would be nice.

 

 

What's the difference between 1 8GB and 2 4GB? (Personally I have 4 2GB)

 

Otherwise it's just too much pressure to be putting one one stick of RAM, and it can overheat a lot easier under heavy load.

 

Grant, you silly, silly man.

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What's the difference between 1 8GB and 2 4GB? (Personally I have 4 2GB)

 

>Otherwise it's just too much pressure to be putting one one stick of RAM, and it can overheat a lot easier under heavy load.

 

Grant, you silly, silly man.

Who even reads anymore

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