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DOs and DON'Ts of building your own computer

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 05:13 PM

I know it looks like I am a noobie, and I am (to the forum) but not to computers. I have built countless computers in the past and want to give my advice to people who are venturing into building their own computer. It has already been posted on what is needed on building a computer, but I want to offer as the title suggests, the Dos and Don'ts of building your computer.

First and foremost the Power Supply (PSU). NEVER EVER EVER cheap out on a PSU. The PSU is the part that gives life to your computer and can just as quickly remove said life. Always research and look for reviews of PSUs. A bad PSU will have poor and or unstable current flow causing instability and even damage for higher end machines. A good PSU can give you better energy efficiency by allowing you to go closer to the max wattage of that PSU. Cheap PSUs need a large overhead in terms of wattage; nice ones do not if any at all.
The PSUs I recommend are from companies like: Corsair, Enermax, Silverstone, Antec, NZXT, and XFX. These power supplies may cost you more out the door, but will prevent total failure.

EXAMPLE: I have an AX850 from Corsair. It is an 850w PSU which is MORE than I need BUT I have done some pretty intense testing on it. I placed this PSU in another one of my computers (now sold) which had a power draw out the wall of 865w. Just for giggles I stuck the AX850 in that system and turned it on. Guess what, it was still drawing 865w and did so for several hours and the PSU didn't even so much as make a coil whine. Granted the PSU was working A LOT harder than in my current system the fact is it did it. Why? Because Corsair uses QUALITY parts and tests them beyond the limit. Most cheap PSUs will make whining noises once they get around ~100w of the max.


The next big part is your motherboard. Some people believe they need to obtain the most expensive and elaborate motherboard a company has to offer. This is simply not the case. Other than workstations motherboards elaborate motherboards are designed for enthusiast grade overclocking. And by that I mean is jumping the CPU from lets say 3.2ghz to 5ghz and higher. Even lower end motherboards will do minor overclocking, and even then unless you have an unlocked processor from AMD or a K series from Intel, your overclocking is severely limited.
Which leads to my next point, COOLING! DO NOT BY ANY MEANS OVERCLOCK OR OVERVOLT WITH A STOCK COOLER!!!! Put simply your will kill your CPU.

I will be adding to this later on.


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#2 hamluis



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Posted 14 July 2012 - 11:06 AM

Well...I think that the most important parts of deciding to build a system...start with

a. Determining what your computing habits/wants are. An enthusiast/gamer...wants compnents that fit her/his aspirations, while a casual user (like myself) could care less about sophisticated motherboards, expensive graphics cards, etc. I support looking inward...before even beginning to try to wade through all the hyperbole, sales pitches, etc. that accompany today's hardware components.

b. Conducting research on components...before rushing out to throw money down. For most persons, this seems to be something they want to avoid because...there are no easy answers. Today's equipment features new models that seemingly are produced daily...and reading about such can be intimidating if one is not attuned to self-education principles. That's why OEMs exist...the persons buying those systems don't want to do the research or expend the effort required...to put together a system. I give their customers credit for knowing that they want someone else to tell/sell them what they want. In this respect, they are one leg up on those who decide to "build" a system but who go about it incorrectly or in a lackadaisical manner.

While the hardware items selected are important...the more important work must be done before even thinking about pushing that "Buy this" button online.

Once a user has examined and understood her/his needs/wants...and followed that up with a minimal amount of research as to why certain components may be better suited for her/his needs/wants...that would be the time to start focusing on components.

FWIW: I believe that the starting point for a component search...begins with the CPU. A decision on which CPU is desired...will then drive any decision on motherboard, with the only other factors being monetary and personal choice of features desired in a board. CPU choice will also drive a decision on type of RAM...which will also influence any motherboard desired. I guess that's why it's called a system...the parts chosen influence decisions on the other parts chosen.

I've seen a lot of simplistic "guides" to computer building...there are wholesale websites which are dedicated to such. The ones which seem to do the best job of informing/guiding users or potential users...usually go into great detail and are noteworthy in advising all readers that the information is dated (of course) and a gross generalization made at a given time period.

The best advice I could give anyone regarding building a system...look within yourself...before you even begin to examine/accept the opinions of others about...what you want, why you want it, what you intend to do with it, how much you want to spend, etc.

Then do your own research, rather than accepting the opinions of others whom you believe know more than you. The written word is capable of being understood by all who are not blind or otherwise incapacitated...do some research, then spend your money.


I feel obligated also to point out that there is a general topic that should be viewed by those interested at http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic133861.html .

Edited by hamluis, 14 July 2012 - 11:09 AM.

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