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On the purchase of a new computer.

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On the purchase of a new computer.
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Your Funny UncleUser avatarPosts: 556Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 11:38 amLocation: UK Gender: Male

Post Re: On the purchase of a new computer.

Yes as has been mentioned, building your own PC is like putting together a lego model. all the bits fit together in a pretty standard way. Just check the compatibilities.

The way I'd do it is to choose the CPU and graphics card set-up that you want, then choose a motherboard to fit. You'll be able to check the specs of the motherboard and buy the rest of the parts of your PC to fit that. People do occasionally have memory compatibility issues so a good trick is to find the list of approved memory for your selected motherboard and choose from that. If you're planning on re-using old parts check that your new motherboard has the right connector as sometimes technology moves on.

Another tip for getting good performance but not breaking the bank is to buy parts that are either last year's top-of-the-line or a couple of steps down from this year's best. That way you usually save yourself from paying an early adopter's premium and still end up with a solid piece of kit.

Basically though once you have all the bits it's just a question of fitting it together as per the instructions, and if there's anything you're unsure of like fitting the heat-sink to the CPU there are plenty of on-line guides to help you.
“I don't believe in an afterlife, so I don't have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.” - Isaac Asimov
Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:57 pm
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TheFlyingBastardUser avatarPosts: 787Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:17 am Gender: Male

Post Re: On the purchase of a new computer.

anon1986sing wrote:
TheFlyingBastard wrote:Yeah, you can usually rip out your video card, which saves you the bulk of the costs.
Actually while built-in sound is quite good that you don't need a Soundblaster card unless you're into professional sound mixing, internal graphics is not good enough. I would say, it's always better to invest in a graphics card no matter how cheap you want it to be, because the performance is always going to be much better than the internal graphics.

He mentioned he was running Fallout, Dragon Age and Civilization well, so his current card will do. It's also a nice way to spread the costs for now and wait for your salary to come so you have more monetary breathing space.
Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:50 pm
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RichardMNixonUser avatarPosts: 1047Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:45 pmLocation: USA Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: On the purchase of a new computer.

I never understood how people can spend so much on a video card...

I usually buy the mid-level card for 100-150 USD. It lasts me 2-3 years of medium-high settings.
"When I come to my own beliefs, I find myself quite unable to discern any purpose in the universe, and still more unable to wish to discern one." ~ Bertrand Russell
"If we do not succeed, we run the risk of failure." ~ Dan Quayle
Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:46 am
borrofburiModeratorPosts: 3527Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:27 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: On the purchase of a new computer.

RichardMNixon wrote:I never understood how people can spend so much on a video card...

I usually buy the mid-level card for 100-150 USD. It lasts me 2-3 years of medium-high settings.

Well... primarily because, if you play video games and don't do major graphical editing (for which you need a ton of RAM) and don't do a lot of encryption or generally encoding (for which you actually need a 3 gigaherz quad core hyperthreading processor), then it is *very* likely that the #2 bottleneck you experience in your day to day life will be the graphics card almost entirely regardless of which CPU and GPU combination you pick. So if you play a lot of games you either decide it's worth it to get both a fast CPU and a fast GPU, OR you should probably sacrifice the fast CPU for a better GPU (I myself violated this because the i7s had just come out, so I went for motherboard longevity instead of "best band for my buck").

Of course, the #1 bottleneck is almost always the hard drive speed, but if you're a gamer on a budget waiting an extra 5 to 40 seconds for your game to start up (and an extra few seconds for other programs, and another 30 seconds for OS boot (which I mean really, if you have a competent rig you only experience once every few weeks)) is FAR better than dealing with a lower in game resolution.

So in short: they cut the processor price by $50 to $100 and add it to the GPU price.
Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:57 am
FaithlessThinkerUser avatarPosts: 618Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:41 am Gender: Cake

Post Re: On the purchase of a new computer.

Talking about hard disks, how are SSDs (Solid State Drives) fairing? For one thing, they're much faster for data access than hard disks, and you don't even have to bother defragmenting them, but they're still so bloody expensive and still don't offer the same amount of space as hard disks do.

I initially considered an SSD as my primary drive (with an secondary HDD for the extra space), but dropped the idea because it's too expensive.

Would you consider an SSD? Why or why not?
It was my honest attempt to find a more pure form of God that made me realise that there was none.”
— Master_Ghost_Knight
Previously known as anon1986sing. You can call me FT. :)
Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:57 pm
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YfelsungUser avatarPosts: 514Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 1:26 amLocation: Canada Gender: Male

Post Re: On the purchase of a new computer.

RichardMNixon wrote:I never understood how people can spend so much on a video card...

I usually buy the mid-level card for 100-150 USD. It lasts me 2-3 years of medium-high settings.


I'm with you on that. I got an 8800 I've been Frankensteining for years and it still keeps up with some of my friend's cards that cost 3 or 4 times as much.
Nihilism: turning "fuck it" into a philosophy since 1818.
Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:05 pm
ImprobableJoeUser avatarPosts: 6195Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:24 pm

Post Re: On the purchase of a new computer.

anon1986sing wrote:Talking about hard disks, how are SSDs (Solid State Drives) fairing? For one thing, they're much faster for data access than hard disks, and you don't even have to bother defragmenting them, but they're still so bloody expensive and still don't offer the same amount of space as hard disks do.

I initially considered an SSD as my primary drive (with an secondary HDD for the extra space), but dropped the idea because it's too expensive.

Would you consider an SSD? Why or why not?

I'd consider what you said: a small SSD for your operating system and one or two programs that would benefit from the speed, and everything else on a traditional drive.
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Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:03 pm
TheFlyingBastardUser avatarPosts: 787Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:17 am Gender: Male

Post Re: On the purchase of a new computer.

SSDs are still four times as expensive as mechanical harddisks. But it's nice to see them becoming more and more mainstream. Perhaps the next PC I'll build will be running on SSDs, but that won't be anytime soon.
Wed Oct 27, 2010 5:08 pm
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ImprobableJoeUser avatarPosts: 6195Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:24 pm

Post Re: On the purchase of a new computer.

TheFlyingBastard wrote:SSDs are still four times as expensive as mechanical harddisks. But it's nice to see them becoming more and more mainstream. Perhaps the next PC I'll build will be running on SSDs, but that won't be anytime soon.

Well, that's true and not true. They are much more than four times as expensive for the storage, but they can be had for less than four times the price of an average hard drive. Still way crazy pricey for most people, but not out of reach for someone willing to spend a couple of hundred bucks on a video card or processor either.
Come visit my blog! There will be punch and pie!
Wed Oct 27, 2010 5:30 pm
TheFlyingBastardUser avatarPosts: 787Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:17 am Gender: Male

Post Re: On the purchase of a new computer.

You're right. I was using way outdated calculations. Mechanical drives are getting dirt cheap per gigabyte, so my estimates were obsolete.
Wed Oct 27, 2010 6:12 pm
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ImprobableJoeUser avatarPosts: 6195Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:24 pm

Post Re: On the purchase of a new computer.

TheFlyingBastard wrote:You're right. I was using way outdated calculations. Mechanical drives are getting dirt cheap per gigabyte, so my estimates were obsolete.

Which is why it makes sense to stick your operating system on a $150-200 SSD, and then buy a TB of data storage for $100.
Come visit my blog! There will be punch and pie!
Wed Oct 27, 2010 6:44 pm
TheFlyingBastardUser avatarPosts: 787Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:17 am Gender: Male

Post Re: On the purchase of a new computer.

Sounds about right for my computer, but it's still two euros per GB. I'll wait until SSD has become more mainstream. By that time I'll actually have some money to spare on my computer.
Wed Oct 27, 2010 6:53 pm
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borrofburiModeratorPosts: 3527Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:27 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: On the purchase of a new computer.

ImprobableJoe wrote:
TheFlyingBastard wrote:SSDs are still four times as expensive as mechanical harddisks. But it's nice to see them becoming more and more mainstream. Perhaps the next PC I'll build will be running on SSDs, but that won't be anytime soon.

Well, that's true and not true. They are much more than four times as expensive for the storage, but they can be had for less than four times the price of an average hard drive. Still way crazy pricey for most people, but not out of reach for someone willing to spend a couple of hundred bucks on a video card or processor either.

The value of an SSD depends on what you do. In the same way that the average consumer would balk at the price of 16 gigs of RAM, a graphics artist simply counts it as part of the cost of his trade (in much the same way a craftsman metal worker needs a good welder), the average consumer balks at the price of an SSD while people who actually do a lot of hard drive access simply consider it to be part of the costs of being good at what they do.

Gamers don't need them though, not really, it's just a nice bonus to have the game start a bit faster, what matters for the actual game is not how long it takes to start, but how well it runs once it does.
Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:50 pm
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