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Thread: Building My First Computer

  1. #1
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    Question Building My First Computer

    Hey everybody!

    So I've decided to build my first computer. I've decided to go with the Phantom 410 case. I'm not sure if I want to get the Full Tower or the Mid-Tower version yet. Don't really see much of a difference besides the price and space. What I really need help in is deciding on a CPU and motherboard. I'd like to keep it Intel and Ivy Bridge. This computer that I'm building will replace my old desktop that has Windows XP Home Edition SP3 on it. I intend to run Ubuntu on the one I'm building. So can I ask the community to help guide me in my first build?

    Let's start with choosing a CPU. I've been reading about 2nd Generation processors and 3rd Generation processors. I'm guessing that the 3rd Generation processors are the newest processors, and therefore, better? I've been looking at this Intel page for hours trying to make sense of it. I think I'm suffering from information overload at this point. Now, I'm not sure if I actually NEED i7, so I'm open to other suggestions (i5, i3) also.

    I think I'll leave it at that for now. Thanks in advance to those who try to assist me. If this thread is in the wrong place, I apologize, and please move it to the correct category. Thank you.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Building My First Computer

    I think the biggest first question to answer is what do you do with your computer, and what would you like to do with it? Knowing that, you can start to decide on what hardware would suit your purpose the best. If you are heavy into gaming and want to play the newest and latest at high frame rates, you'll want to get a little more GPU and CPU horsepower. If you just like to tinker with small programs, the internet, and small stuff, there's no point in shelling out a lot of cash for all that processing power.

    The second big question is what is your budget? That of course is going to help you in the push and pull between ideal hardware and fitting the ideal system into your budget.

  3. #3
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    Re: Building My First Computer

    You're right and I've thought about what this new computer will be used for. I will use it for everyday tasks like school work, internet, and things like that, but also I'd like to be able to have the option of playing games, if I ever decide to go to PC gaming. Another thing is that I'd like to be able to set up Virtualbox on it to test out other distros. The budget that I've come up with is around $1000 or maybe a little more, say $1300, if I really need something.
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    Re: Building My First Computer

    I think that's totally doable. Do you need a new monitor as well, or just the computer?

    I'm not quite as versed (not that I'm an expert by any means!) in the Sandy Bridge CPUs. I wanted to go Ivy Bridge on my most recent build. So, I'm not sure how to advise on that point other than to say you're probably well off with 4 cores, and if you're not now into high end gaming and want to save a few immediate bucks, I'll guess the onboard video is enough to get you by until you decide to take the plunge on a discrete video card. I've never looked into that, though, and I'm not sure how well it's supported - something to research for sure.

    Just like a processor debate, a MoBo debate is always a fun one. I personally like the ASUS motherboards, and I've heard some really nice things are reviews on their Z77 series. In particular (if I'm not mistaken), when I was shopping I saw a lot of good reviews on the P8Z77 series, and in fact there's a promotion on the P8Z77-V LK board at the moment ($129.99 at Newegg). I like the idea of getting the UEFI BIOS since it's the way BIOS is going and it's nice to get accustomed to it now.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131837

    Since RAM is so cheap these days (it was around $100 for the 16 GB of higher end RAM I put into my box), I'd say put a bunch in - 8 GB for now should be plenty. Take note, though, that depending on the set you get, you'll want to note if it takes dual, tri, or quad channel RAM so that you get the proper number of modules. Found 8GB (2X4GB sticks) of nice Corsair RAM for $49.99 at Newegg:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820145345

    I would say go for the mid-tower case if you're not terribly pressed for space. First, and most practically, if you get a mid - high end video card you'll be surprised at just how big these things are (at least I was!), and you'll want the space to accommodate it all. Second, it looks like the case has a nice little window to see your hardware, and with all the cable and stuff crammed into a small case, it's not that visually appealing anymore.

    I would recommend going with at least a 600 Watt PSU, just to be sure that you can feed everything, and spending the extra bucks on an 80-plus Bronze or better will be worth the cash in the long run since it's more energy efficient. I personally prefer the Corsair PSUs. Maybe something along these lines?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817139020

    So far, with the case you picked, the RAM, PSU, and MoBo, plus just picking the i7-3770K processor (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819116501) for grins, I'm at about $710. That'll leave you about $300 for hard drives and a discrete video card if you wanted to get one. I didn't really price shop any of those components, nor did I really evaluate them closely to see if they're the right fit for you. So, you could probably go up or down a little from there. It is at least (I hope!) a good starting point.

    It took me about 1 week of reading reviews and shopping around until I picked the parts for my recent build. Definitely take your time and see what info you can find before ordering. It took me 1 week to shop for the parts, 3 or 4 days for them to come in, 2 hours to put together, and (so far) several months of shear enjoyment!

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    Re: Building My First Computer

    For everyday use, you can get by with any CPU. For gaming, you'll want to focus on getting a good video card since that is what takes a brunt of the work for rendering graphics. I usually like XFX or EVGA for the quality of their products.

    I like Gigabyte or Asus for mobo. Be sure to invest in a good CPU fan (rather than use the stock one).

    The PSU is very important. A cheap PSU will ruin the entire system if it blows. Corsair and Silverstone are the only two brands I trust. Try and get a modular one as well so you don't have spare cords everywhere in your case.

    Have a blast!
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    Re: Building My First Computer

    Great advice! I was looking into the ASUS motherboards also. I won't need a new monitor for now so I'm good in that area. I plan to get a new computer desk as well. I'm debating between the Z77 and the X79. What do you think?

    The Phantom 410 case has nice cable management so I can hide the cables very well.

    The thing that I need to understand is the differences between these CPUs and their sockets. Know anything about that?

    I'm very eager to get started, but I want to do my research first, and this is my first step. Your advice definitely points me in the right direction.
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    Re: Building My First Computer

    I used to be a frequent poster at Toms Hardware (http://www.tomshardware.com/). You should check their articles out and sign up on their forums. You can post your configuration and have people judge it and make recommendations. They also have build contests that serve as great references for people looking to put together systems. For example, check out this sub $500 gaming system: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...ding,3273.html
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    Re: Building My First Computer

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadius View Post
    Great advice! I was looking into the ASUS motherboards also. I won't need a new monitor for now so I'm good in that area. I plan to get a new computer desk as well. I'm debating between the Z77 and the X79. What do you think?

    The Phantom 410 case has nice cable management so I can hide the cables very well.

    The thing that I need to understand is the differences between these CPUs and their sockets. Know anything about that?

    I'm very eager to get started, but I want to do my research first, and this is my first step. Your advice definitely points me in the right direction.
    Well, a little hard for me to steer you one way or another. I went the X79 (i7-3930K, ASUS X79 Sabertooth, 16 GB Corsair 1833MHz DDR3 RAM) route as that's what I needed, and my budget was a little higher. I also tend to go a little more toward the "cutting edge" to be a little more forward compatible. To be honest, I'm betting you'll be quite pleased with Z77 stuff, but I would definitely lean more toward Sandy Bridge chips as the Ivy Bridge are on their way out.

    From a performance perspective, I'm sure you probably would never notice a difference between the LGA-1155 and LGA-2011 sockets. Maybe for really high end computation work or if you're going to get into serious overclocking would you notice anything. So, for you (IMHO), it's probably not worth the extra cash to go that high end. Also, if you are going to start pushing things like super high performance and overclocking, you'll need to start spending more on extra fans and stuff like that.

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    Re: Building My First Computer

    Quote Originally Posted by drmrgd View Post
    Well, a little hard for me to steer you one way or another. I went the X79 (i7-3930K, ASUS X79 Sabertooth, 16 GB Corsair 1833MHz DDR3 RAM) route as that's what I needed, and my budget was a little higher. I also tend to go a little more toward the "cutting edge" to be a little more forward compatible. To be honest, I'm betting you'll be quite pleased with Z77 stuff, but I would definitely lean more toward Sandy Bridge chips as the Ivy Bridge are on their way out.

    From a performance perspective, I'm sure you probably would never notice a difference between the LGA-1155 and LGA-2011 sockets. Maybe for really high end computation work or if you're going to get into serious overclocking would you notice anything. So, for you (IMHO), it's probably not worth the extra cash to go that high end. Also, if you are going to start pushing things like super high performance and overclocking, you'll need to start spending more on extra fans and stuff like that.
    It's sounding like I would be good with the Z77 chipset rather than the X79 chipset. What are the differences between them though? I've been trying to figure that out. I'm on Intel's website trying to compare the two. Also, trying to figure out the differences between the sockets. I don't think I'll be getting into anything that has to do with high computations or extreme overclocking so I'm leaning toward the Z77 chipset like you suggested.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Building My First Computer

    Quote Originally Posted by drmrgd View Post
    ... but I would definitely lean more toward Sandy Bridge chips as the Ivy Bridge are on their way out.
    I would suggest people take this advice with a pinch of salt

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