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Another PC thread

Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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290
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Hiding under a rock
#1
The Situation
So, I have decided to attempt to build a PC. Yep. My mother, who neurologist who specializes in brain imaging, has given me full access to her tech departments old junk. The stuff is the top of the line computers from anywhere from this year to 7 years ago.

The Problem
I have no experience with PC's

What you can do
Tell me what I should look for in terms of parts and stuff, and direct me any decent guides.

Thanks!
-Azian
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
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Location
Texas
#3
Can you try to take an inventory of the parts you have? It would make it easier for folks to help you cobble something together.
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2011
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#5
You're a lucky bastard for having the opportunity to access so many computer parts for no cost at all...

Go ahead and take inventory and tell us what you have, and then we can piece together what would work best. It's extremely difficult to give a crash course in computer hardware, engineering, and building, so we'll just teach you as we go along.

To help you take inventory, I've uploaded this, which will help you identify anything and everything that comes across your path. Since everything is from the past decade, you shouldn't find half of the items on that list, but they're there just in case.

Good luck, and happy hunting!
 
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#8
Update:
So, instead of using old parts, she's just going to let me order parts, using her massive grant. So I need a computer build. A top notch computer build. Maybe 2-3K price wise. Requirements for me is power. I render HD videos often, need something that can do that. Also, if you could recommend a monitor, that's helpful. @Dazureus @Nalestom
 

Kainzo

The Disposable Hero
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#9
Start learning computers. I could easily build a rig for you - however, time is the thing. If you really want to throw down some serious cash, go to this website.
http://www.ibuypower.com/
All of these machines are prebuilt and watercooled for you - no setup required.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Likes
290
Location
Hiding under a rock
#10
Start learning computers. I could easily build a rig for you - however, time is the thing. If you really want to throw down some serious cash, go to this website.
http://www.ibuypower.com/
All of these machines are prebuilt and watercooled for you - no setup required.
<3 Kainzo. Unfortunately, that wouldn't work, because I'm using her grant money, it has to look like this has uses in a lab. Super hardcore gaming rigs don't look that they belong in a lab, charged to government moneyz. Also still, it would be fun to build my own.
 

Kainzo

The Disposable Hero
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Adventure Team
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Location
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#11
<3 Kainzo. Unfortunately, that wouldn't work, because I'm using her grant money, it has to look like this has uses in a lab. Super hardcore gaming rigs don't look that they belong in a lab, charged to government moneyz. Also still, it would be fun to build my own.
Ah, well that's different.
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2011
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#12
$2-3K?

Lucky bastard.

All right, let's start with the case. The case is going to depend a lot on whether you want your computer to be air-cooled or water-cooled. Naturally, all cases support air cooling, but only some of them support water cooling as well. The quintessential use of water cooling is in decreasing hardware temperatures as much as possible, which is useful either in sensitive environments or in scenarios when you want to overclock the hardware - increasing the base clock speeds of your processor, graphics card, and sometimes your RAM to get the maximum amount of performance. You will also want your case to have a nice cable management system (which basically gets excess cabling out of the way of your airflow - which, naturally, isn't a problem if you decide to stick to water cooling, but sometimes it's nice for aesthetic purposes) as well as be big enough to support all of your hardware.

All that being said, I would recommend this little puppy. It's a HUGE and HEAVY case, but that gives you plenty of room to work with. It's a tad on the expensive side, but the thing about buying cases is that it's an investment - you won't need to buy another case for quite a number of years.

Next, we'll need a motherboard. Motherboards are often picked primarily on the type of processor you'll want, the type of RAM you want, and whether or not you'll want a dedicated graphics card. Since you're looking for a powerhouse, we'll be going with an Intel-based LGA 1155 slot motherboard that also supports all speeds of DDR3 RAM. After you've decided that, it's really all about what kind of features you want on the motherboard (as well as how shiny the color scheme is.) Based on all that, I'd say your best bet would be a nice, quality MSi motherboard. This guy supports the processor we want as well as the memory we want, and also comes with some very nice little features like built-in USB 3.0, SATA III, and three PCI-E x16 slots (which is more than enough!)

Now that we've got our motherboard, we can safely choose our processor and RAM. For your processor, you can't get much better than a Intel i7-3770S Ivy Bridge. Since Intel's line of included heatsinks and fans for their processors are notorious for being medium-quality at best, I would recommend getting a third-party heatsink and fan for this beast - something along the lines of this. Keep in mind that that's my personal opinion, and I'm not always right - I'm learning just as much as you are. =) As for RAM, you really can't go too wrong. Some people think that 4GB is enough, but since you're going to be doing a lot of video editing and rendering, it's probably best that we up that amount to 8GB. That being said, I recommend two sticks of G.Skill memory. I personally own these guys, and as far as RAM goes, you can't get much better.

Next, we'll need a video card - Hell, why not two? When it comes to video cards, you'll usually encounter diehard AMD/ATi fans and diehard Nvidia fans. I'm sure plenty of people will disagree with me, but I'm going to go on a limb and say that buying two AMD Radeon HD7770's and using Crossfire technology to make both of them work together will yield a lot of performance for a relatively cheap price.

Now we'll need something to power it all! We'll need a power supply, which is a very particular piece of equipment in a computer and one that you should never buy cheaply for. The job of the power supply is to convert AC power from your electric outlet into DC power that the sensitive electrical components of the computer can use. Since we'll be powering a monster of a computer, we'll need a reliable power supply from a reputable brand that can support the needs of the hardware while still giving you some room to upgrade parts later. That being said, I think this guy will offer the best bang for your buck. It's a bit pricey as power supplies go, but it's reliable, looks nice, and has a modular cable system (which basically means that you can remove power cables that you aren't using, thus preventing excess clutter inside your computer case and improving the general airflow of cool air in, hot air out.)

Now we get to the fun part - hard drives! Nowadays, it's pretty much standard to include a SSD in new computer builds as well as a hard drive used for storage. An SSD is essentially a super-fast type of hard drive that relies on the same flash technology that RAM uses to read and write data a ridiculous amount faster than a normal platter-based hard drive. On this SSD, you'll want to install your Windows 7 copy as well as any games or applications that you use on a daily basis - for example, Minecraft, Microsoft Office, Sony Vegas, Photoshop, and so on. You do NOT want to use the SSD to store documents - it doesn't have enough space to do that. To store documents and applications you don't use very often, as well as a place to store your downloads, TV shows, movies, and so on, you'll want to use this guy. Oh, and let's not forget the mandatory CD/DVD drive - otherwise, you won't be installing Windows 7 anytime soon.

Speaking of Windows, you'll want a 64-bit copy. It's also worth looking at some sort of protection from the elements - particularly the electric kind. Lightning is a very real danger, and the last thing you want is for lightning to strike your house and cause your computer to short out. Look into getting a reliable UPS (Univeral Power Supply) that comes with surge protection and a backup battery. A reliable UPS can be the difference between keeping and losing your precious bundle of hardware.

A very rough estimate comes up with a grand total of around $1650 (without sales tax and shipping included.) That's below your budget. I recommend grabbing a monitor or two - or maybe a really nice keyboard? Now that I think about it, a solid mouse can make all the difference in the world when it comes to gaming. ;)

If anybody else notices something I missed, please be sure to include it! This entire list is up for debate, and all of it is purely my opinion - I'm sure Kainzo has a much better idea of what the computer hardware market looks like than I do, considering he's always keeping an eye out for server parts.
 
Joined
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#16
Well, I hope it goes well bro. Even if I'm totally jelly. ;) What happens to the other computers?

I don't think there's an enormous difference between monitors (although I've been wrong before) besides aesthetic stuff. Just pick you a good one with an HDMI connector.
 
Joined
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#17
Well, I hope it goes well bro. Even if I'm totally jelly. ;) What happens to the other computers?

I don't think there's an enormous difference between monitors (although I've been wrong before) besides aesthetic stuff. Just pick you a good one with an HDMI connector.
There are minute differences between monitors, but unless you like to obsess over graphics and such, there's no real difference. Picking a monitor is essentially a battle between HDMI/DVI compatibility, 1080p resolution, diagonal screen size, response rate, and contrast ratio. You want your contrast ratio to be as high as possible, your response rate as low as possible, and your screen size to be as high as possible, all while keeping the price low.

By the way, @Theazian...if you plan on buying two monitors, try to get two of the same model - they look best side-by-side that way. I know that's a really common sense thing to say, but I've seen people get one large model and one small model, and it just looks tacky.
 
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