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#4407039 - 02/23/18 08:54 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Yes indeed.

#4407141 - 02/24/18 02:41 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Well, since this forum isn’t exactly on fire, I will ramble a bit. Since I can’t fly I find myself doing all sorts of chores. Not a dirty dish or piece of clothing can survive more then three minutes before it’s washed. Lucky it’s winter (though pretty warm) or my property would be in for some work.
Had a stork or a crane or whatever fly low over my head first thing this morning and the first thing I thought of was “The Storks” of the French Combat Group fame. I’ll take this as a good omen!

On a more serious note how many folks here have built their own computer systems?

Glanced briefly at a couple of websites, but they were a bit dated to me in the fast moving hardware world, so how do you know which MB, for example, matches up (compatable) with your CPU, how big a PSU you will need, etc? Just brute knowledge or is there a website that holds your hand while you make a parts list?

#4407146 - 02/24/18 03:01 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Well, it is a genuinely good subject if the intent is to ramble and occupy time biggrin biggrin biggrin

If you please, I trust you realize this is - by it's very nature - a complex discussion. My response to your query will likely be lengthy, so kindly indulge me if it has to be in parts and perhaps not all at the same time...

(TBC)

#4407147 - 02/24/18 03:05 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Duke, sorry to here about your computer woes, I feel your pain as I've gone through the same thing in the past. To building computers, I have done several myself and have always had good luck with both Newegg and TigerDirect when it comes to parts. I tend to jump online and start researching all the latest and greatest when I am ready to start a new build. After a fair amount of reading and deciding which route to take I order up what I need. As I've mentioned before though I don't go with the newest technology but rather what was new 6 months to a year ago as the price savings are tremendous. I am sure kksnowbear and 4L0M and others will weigh in on this.

EDIT: Speak of the devil, kk was posting just as I was. biggrin

.

#4407148 - 02/24/18 03:11 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Ordinarily, I might say start at the motherboard, since it really is what has all the features that will determine what the build supports when it's done. But, for the purpose of this discussion, I'll say to start with the CPU, for one very simple reason: Some might prefer AMD processors and others might prefer Intel.

Since CPU drives motherboard choice, and motherboard choice drives most everything else; I say decide first on CPU.

Without the back-and-forth that usually accompanies that debate, let me summarize and say that one might choose Intel if performance without consideration for budget is your priority. And, conversely, if budget is the most important factor, then AMD has some excellent offerings more suited to your situation. Both are fine, both have pro's and con's, both can be perfectly capable of enthusiast-level gaming.

(For the purposes of this discussion, where a distinction is necessary, I'll be discussing Intel hardware.)

#4407149 - 02/24/18 03:11 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Yes that is a good lesson in hardware I learned years ago - take one step back from the “bleeding edge” of technology for your best bang for the buck.
And please kksnowbear take your time. I currently have a lot of it and will be very interested in your posts.

EDIT: Beat me to it with your post kk!

Last edited by DukeIronHand; 02/24/18 03:12 PM.
#4407150 - 02/24/18 03:19 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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I would add that while you are deciding your build and looking for the best places to save money in the process, one place you do NOT want to cheap out is the power supply. Spend a bit extra and get a good quality PS that is 20% larger than your calculations show you need. I have always had good luck with Corsair.

#4407156 - 02/24/18 03:29 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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And speaking of speaking of the devil biggrin ...there's Lou when ya need him!

And I could not possibly endorse an approach more strongly. I am a huge fan of NewEgg myself, second perhaps only to MicroCenter (if you have one nearby), because MC will almost invariably have the better prices on CPU/motherboard combos, and will typically be the lowest price on the overall cost of your build components. That said, sales come and go, NewEgg has excellent Blitz Deals etc, so you have to consider that. If you don't have a MC nearby, then one less place to worry about.

The other point Lou makes - and this is a 'budget-friendly' thing - so, much like Intel vs. AMD, if money isn't a big concern for you, then maybe this bit won't apply as much to you. For me - and I imagine most others - money is always a part of the decision. Lou's spot on: the 'latest and greatest' computer parts, when they first come out, can easily be 2x what they will be if you wait even 6 months. I've probably built 10 PCs for myself over the past 20+ years, and I am sure I've saved 10-15k in that time, 500-1000 each time, by NOT buying the latest and greatest.

So, kinda like AMD v Intel - this will involve thinking about budget vs top-o-the-line regardless of cost. To each his own smile

We could probably write a separate book about this decision alone, and rightfully so, but it is probably best to know where you stand on this subject before you proceed - and hats off to Lou for keeping this at the forefront of the discussion.

#4407158 - 02/24/18 03:47 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Intel would be the way I would go and I have done business with both NewEgg and Microcenter in the past.
Guess a CPU/MB combo would be the obvious way to go. Obviously compatable and I did read you get a “bundle price” when doing so.

Are all PSU’s compatable with all MB’s? My memory is poor (and it’s only been about 6 months) but it’s seems I had to make sure my MB (ATX?) was cool with my PSU?

RAM is RAM I will guess? Good on any MB?

And certain vid cards only work with certain MB’s? Seems like I remember having to make sure of PCIe(?) compatability?

#4407161 - 02/24/18 04:04 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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A word here about "future-proofing" since that is often the reasoning behind buying stuff that is closer to 'latest and greatest':

The simple fact is, nothing that mankind does is truly future-proof. If you never plan on building another PC, then sure, you probably want something to last as long as possible. But, consider the actual interval between rebuilds....things come up (parts go bad), technology changes, etc., you want to upgrade. So, there may not be a real need to spend a lot on 'future-proofing' if you'll be replacing what you're planning now with another unit in 2-3 years. Even at 4-5 years, it's still arguably not really worth it to pay for the latest and greatest for the purpose of future proofing. A new machine built today, planned carefully, can keep you going with a minor upgrade or two along the way (GPU) and in 4 years, rebuild.

#4407162 - 02/24/18 04:04 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Duke, once you have landed on a CPU / mobo combo you can then go to the mobo specs and see what cards and peripherals it supports. To the PSU, make sure it has all the various output plug combos you will need, apart from that I don't know that there is such a thing as PSU compatibility.

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#4407166 - 02/24/18 04:12 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Whew!
Or just buy a super-duper Alienware machine. As computing is my only bad habit I don’t feel guilty throwing a big pile of cash at it.

Thanks for the thoughts though gentlemen. Given me additional things to think about as I nose about the various sites.
When (if) it comes time to pull the trigger (and I guess I’ll know when my MB gets here) I am sure to pester you guys again. In fact, if memory serves Lou, you guided me on a hardware purchase years ago though I don’t remember what that was...

#4407168 - 02/24/18 04:16 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Duke, I do recall offering you some direction years ago on a piece of computer hardware, but for the life of me I cannot remember what it was now. My memory is good, but short.

.

#4407174 - 02/24/18 04:45 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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OK, Duke, so you're an Intel person...we'll go with that.

I love MicroCenter, and their CPU prices are hard to beat. And if you're buying a complete system, then yes a 'bundle' gives a discount ($30-40 on top of sales and rebates). And yes, the bundles come with compatible motherboards and CPUs.

On the PSU question:

Since you've asked this, I'll go over it first, but I would ordinarily say motherboard comes after CPU. No biggie, we'll get back to motherboard.

All PSUs are not compatible with all motherboards, but these days MOST are. For compatibility, you need to think about a few things (note that capacity - wattage - is in addition to this; more on that in a minute):

- Any decent power supply you're considering should include automatic Power Factor correction. Without going into detail, if it has a 'slide' switch to select 110 or 220v, don't buy it. Good PSUs do this as a standard nowadays. I also strongly prefer having a "main" on-off AC power switch switch on the outside of the PSU.

- There are two motherboard connectors, one is 24 pins that should be physically configured as 20+4 pins by having a 'split' connector, where the 4 pins at one end can be folded back out of the way if not needed. It bears saying here that most any NEW motherboard these days will use ALL 24 pins. The second motherboard connector is 4 or 8 pins, physically accomplished by splitting the connector plug as well. Not really worth considering a PSU that only has 4 pins here (they do exist). Make sure it's an 8-pin(4+4) CPU connector.

- PCI Express connectors (PCIe); you'll need a number determined by your graphics card. Most anything in our range is going to need (2) of these, at least one at first and possibly a second later on. Each of these will likely be split like the motherboard connectors above, but here into a "6+2" configuration. Some do come as (1) 6+2 and (1) 6-pin, which is OK so long as you accept that later on it might limit your GPU choices somewhat. If you intend to run multiple graphics cards at any point, obviously the PSU will need to grow accordingly, and I'd suggest doubling the number of PCIe connectors to two per card: (4) total for two cards, (6) total for three cards, etc...Note this will only be possible by buying a much larger wattage PSU - as it should be. Generally, you won't find 4 PCIe connectors on anything less than 700 watts, and that's good because if you're using 4 connectors, running two cards, you're going to need 700+ watts.

I need to put in a word here about the adapters that you often see to allow connecting a 4 pin "Molex" (actually called LP4) to the 6 or 8-pin PCIe graphics card connector. I do not recommend these as a rule, and except in cases where there's no other option, I'd avoid them. Yes, I know they can/do work, but there's a lot more to it. Electrically, it's the last way you'd ever want to do that, and the only real reason they come with graphics cards is because NOT including them would mean lost sales - and the manufacturers don't want that. But the truth is, if your PSU was intended to run a card with those connectors, it would have the actual connectors - and you won't need adapters.

Power supplies could warrant a book by themselves, and I'll discuss capacity next, but the only other real consideration is length of the cables - make sure the PSU you settle on has ample cable length for the chassis you intend to use it in. Most higher-end units are fine, but if you happen to have one of those "super tower" cases, you'll need extra long cables. Electrically, you want to avoid any extension connectors/cables.

TBC

#4407178 - 02/24/18 04:49 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Thanks kksnowbear.
I will be bookmarking this thread in addition to learning along the way!

#4407179 - 02/24/18 04:50 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Originally Posted by DukeIronHand
Whew!
Or just buy a super-duper Alienware machine. As computing is my only bad habit I don’t feel guilty throwing a big pile of cash at it.

Thanks for the thoughts though gentlemen. Given me additional things to think about as I nose about the various sites.
When (if) it comes time to pull the trigger (and I guess I’ll know when my MB gets here) I am sure to pester you guys again. In fact, if memory serves Lou, you guided me on a hardware purchase years ago though I don’t remember what that was...



LOL, man - We're just getting started...we haven't even finished CPUs yet!!!

If you really don't wish to study all this - and if your station in life is such that you can afford it, then you might consider a pre-built system. I feel compelled to caution, however: IMHO, they are sometimes overpriced for what you get, and the bigger the name the worse it seems to get. There is no guarantee that spend that kind of money means no problems, or even top performance. Basically (and I'm sure this will not sit well with some, but it is my opinion nonetheless) you pay for a name.

#4407180 - 02/24/18 05:07 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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I totally agree kk, you can spend a lot of money for a name. The "you get what you pay for" axiom may well show itself in this discussion in respect to name brands, which is fine, as long as you honestly do get what you pay for.

.

#4407182 - 02/24/18 05:19 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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On PSU wattage, (then we need to circle back to CPUs):

As a down-n-dirty method, I usually opt for GPU required wattage + 300W. How do you know the wattage of the GPU, you ask? Well, go here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nvidia_graphics_processing_units or, if you prefer AMD cards, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_AMD_graphics_processing_units

Find your series of cards (Nvidia, current gen is 10-series, previous 9, etc) and go to that section. Look at the column headers, find TDP - this is the wattage your card requires, per Nvidia specifications. You can also go to the Nvidia (or AMD) website and hunt this info down.

Now, take whatever the GPU requires and add 300. This allows for your motherboard, CPU, memory, drives, etc. NOTE this is the absolute minimum I'd suggest, and it's not a bad idea to bump the total up even by 25% or more, because a. PSUs operate most efficiently when partially loaded, so it's better if it's not always running at max load, and b. Because of the way electronics work, PSUs do what's called "de-rating" over time. Components - mostly the capacitors - can handle less and less power over time, so the overall power supply gets weaker as time goes on. How much? Well, I've read estimates of as much as 10% per year - but I think that's mitigated by better designs which use higher-quality guts. This is among the reasons you often hear "Don't get cheap on the power supply," and it's good advice.

That said, the other side of the argument is don't waste money on too much power supply...it really is just wasted money. There is really no such thing in practice as a single-GPU PC that will use 1,000 watts; that's a waste of money. A single GPU machine, even with some of the older current-sucking 400-, 500-, and 700-series GPUs would still only require about 650~675 watts, and that's allowing a bit for de-rating, efficiency, etc (The actual power used might be between 450-550 watts, depending on what exactly you're doing at the moment). So, do yourself a favor, find out how much you really need, and don't overspend.

If you want to calculate the entire system (a good check/balance against my 300w rule of thumb) then go use the excellent online tool at https://outervision.com/power-supply-calculator. Often, manufacturers and resellers have these (NewEgg does and Corsair, too) - just keep in mind these folks are selling stuff, so don't be surprised if they recommend higher wattage, more expensive stuff that you calculate smile

Far as brands (let the flaming begin *lol*) Corsair has a good reputation (but has had some bumps in the road), Seasonic is often touted as King of the Hill, Antec, maybe ThermalTake (but some specific models are MUCH better than others)...I personally find many Rosewill units (NewEgg 'house' brand) are good values. One good idea is to READ REVIEWS.

#4407183 - 02/24/18 05:28 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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No, just joking sir.
Taking notes here and I will be building my next system. What better way to know your system then by building it yourself?

#4407185 - 02/24/18 05:31 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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A quick word about efficiency in power supplies: A lot has changed in the industry over the past decade or so with respect to protecting the environment; PSU efficiency is one of these things. It is not generally a made-up marketing ploy to get you to spend more money (although there are plenty of those, for sure)...

Here's the down and dirty: Pay for the most efficient PSU you can afford to budget for. The more efficient, the less power it uses - which affects your electric bill over time. Not a lot, but it can/does "pay for itself" in the right circumstances. Plus, you're wasting less energy and generating less heat (which can also save on electricity in the warmer months if you run AC). Not saying everyone should have a platinum-efficiency unit, because naturally the cost increases as the efficiency does. So, look at the ratings and buy what you can reasonably afford. The ratings are called "80 Plus" meaning the PSU must be at least 80% efficient (entry level, so-called "White" or just "80-plus"), and the efficiency ratings increase in efficiency through Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Titanium I think...read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/80_Plus

and look for the logo on whatever you're considering. For most folks, something between Bronze and Gold is probably reasonable.

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