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New Builds - how to get the best advice from Forum Members

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  • #16
    Hope you don't mind my bumping this one

    A few people recently have been pm'ing me for advice, and while I will always help when I can, I do have a full-time job and a family with 2 young kids... so just a quick note to say that a pm will not always get responded to quickly, or necessarily with the best advice - regardless of who you pm.

    The best way to get a quick question answered is to post it to the forum where any number of knowledgeable people can answer it and most likely suggest alternatives as well
    Fractal R4 (shhh!) 3570k, z77x-d3h, 16gb, R9-270X, 240gb SSD, 2tb mirror w/ 60gb cache drive


    • #17
      Same. College is probably less of a handful though I'll probably be away from the help section for a couple weeks while I get used to it.
      Dell Vostro 3560 | Intel Core i5-3380M | 8GB RAM | HD4000 graphics | Sandisk SSDPlus 120GB | Windows 10 Pro


      • #18
        Theres already a guide here though I think clarity is of essence in this minefield of hardware and opinions.

        Budget: - what you can spend 1 week from now and with an extra 10% in reserve.

        Typically recomendations will be offered that are up to 10% more than your budget but which add tremendous value. Hardware and prices change like the wind so to save yourself and others time, be ready to nail your chosen recomendation at up to 10% more than you factored

        Use: - the actual software and games you use, and what you are looking forward to running in the future.

        A gaming or video/audio production machine does not tell the whole story. Software and hardware matching is quite a science so it's best to know what precise applications it's for.

        Spares: - what potentially useful components you own

        Rather than state what you would like which may sway opinions, just state what components you own as this way you can then compare others recomendations against your own judgement. Include stuff like Operating system and screen of course.

        Environment: - who and where it is intended for.

        Aesthtics and noise count for a lot depending on where the machine is and who operates it. Quiet media gaming centre for the family? Personal gaming machine for oneself? Office machine for a professional environment?

        Lifespan: - how long you are realisticly looking for this machine to be servicable?

        You may be looking for this set price to last a certain number of years. You may be looking to upgrade to it over time. You may be in a position to sell on parts making it a constant uppgrade - this information is useful.

        To help everyone to help you then commence with a blank canvas and just supply the paint - opinions will always differ which is the point of this.

        i5 2500k | Asus Maximus IV gene-z | 16GB Mushkin-BL PC12800 | 2 x Samsung S30 128GB | Xonar Essence STX | OCZ ZS 750W | Fractual Design Define Mini | Gigabyte 7970 GE | Dell U2711 | Logitech G27 - the best bit by far!


        • #19
          "bang for buck"

          ...that means getting something that will work as well as possible, for as little money as possible, within your budget. Couple of things with this. Firstly, research components first, get familiar with the latest technology. Have a go at making a build list, Aria main website has a great feature with the "wishlists" that can be made public, you can post them here and people will drill down in your build, offer advice or maybe jsut give you reasurement that you have a good build already.

          My advice:

          Unless you are flush with cash, stay away from the very top end of hardware at the time. Manufacturers charge a premium for "the best" which tends to far outweigh the performance gain you get from these. For me, if you can afford it, the sweet spot is around the 2nd/3rd tier hardware. Also, again, if you can afford it, avoid the budget/low end hardware, the saying "buy cheap, buy twice" may apply, yes you can get a decent gaming build for much less than a top end one, buy it will become obsolete faster, meaning in a few years you will need upgrades or an entire overhaul again so over time, it may not work out financially beneficial if you intend to carry on gaming for years to come.


          Avoid unbranded/unknown brands. Most of these will be cheap chinese knock offs. Whilst some, or argueably most of these will probably work totally fine, the chances of them failing is higher. Only buy decent branded parts from a reputable vendor (like Aria) where you know there will have been some research into the components to ensure they are of a good quality.

          Power Supplies:

          This is not a part to skimp on. Yes an expensive power supply does not make your PC run faster. But let me give you an analogy. With motorcycle electrics, on most bikes they run on 12v. Now, if you have a good quality battery, it will put out nearly 12v at all times, even when it starts to lose charge or become old. Cheap batteries will not, and when they degrade the voltage output will start to drop. As the voltage drops, the current will increase, to supply the same amount of energy to each component of your motorcycle. Higher current means more heat. What does heat do to metal? Expands it. And what happens when it cools? It contracts. So that effect of expansion and contraction, stretches the electrical contacts between components. This expanding and contracting effect then expidites the more stretched the contacts get, as more current (and more heat) will be needed to go through these connections. Eventually to the point where the contacts break, and your bike doesnt work anymore.

          The same thing happens in your PC, and your power supply is like your battery. Dont buy a cheap one.


          In my experience the weak part of a PC build. Possibly I have had bad luck with these, but I have had 3 go on me, leach time not logn after the warranty period had expired! Fingers crossed my current motherboard has been going for 5 years now. Thing with the motherboard is again, buying a really good one doesnt really seem to affect ther performance of your machine all that much, which is to a certain extent true. But, if there is one thing that will go before a lot of the rest of your hardware it'll be this. The other problem is that they then tend to become obsolete pretty quickly or to put it another way, you have a build a few years old. Your motherboards goes and its outside of any warranty. Whilst the rest of your system components may be perfectly fine, you may find it difficult to obtain the same, or compatible board. Meaning you may need to to a risk or second hand board and pay over the odds to get hold of one, or your bassically gonna end up having to get a new CPU/RAM even though they were fine.

          The summarise on this, you may not need a top end board with all of the features, but don't go cheap on this either, buy a decent branded board and not just the cheapest one you can find that will do the job - you may end up regretting it later. The other thing I will say with these, is try and find one with the longest manufacturer warranty period you can find, it may pay off in the long run.


          CPU's are in general pretty sturdy, and unles things majorly change (which I cannot see happening any time soon), you got 2 major brands. Intel and generally faster and better, but more expensive. AMD cheaper but not quite as good. Really both are good and should last, so the choice is really down to budget to performance preference on this one. One thing I will say when it comes to Intel CPU's is you get unlocked or "K" versions of the CPU. These will have been tested beyond stock speeds, if if you dont intend to overclock initially, it may be worth the extra pennies on one of these, as you know you will have plenty in the reserve tank should you need it in the future and may last longer as the CPU will not be running at its full potential.


          Hmmm, maybe one of the parts you can get away with a lower teir brand. Faulty RAM is pretty easy to diagnose, swap the modules out, run memtests etc. I still wouldn't go completely unbranded though.


          This now really boils down to budget. The other thing I will say about GPU's is the techonolgy at least at the moment is progressing faster then most other things, so in a few years time, it will become the most dated part of your build. Fortunately these are pretty easy to swap out so upgrading later is very viable. It also means your GPU will probably suffer the most depreciation. Again, I would avoid the very top end, but 2nd/3rd tier will be fine.

          If you are getting one to last, make sure it has plenty of VRAM. Nvidia in particular, are buggers for shipping cards out with low amounts of VRAM for the specs.

          Good luck.


          • #20
            One sees a lot of advice for different builds, but many inexperienced people don't realise 'hidden' costs. It would be great if people could suggest types of fans for instance when giving advice, and things like thermal paste etc. The little things that alot of people don't normally think to include in builds, and when they buy all their components, realise they are missing, or don't budget for such.


            • #21
              Well thermal paste is going to be included with a stock cooler anyway. If it is an OEM chip without a stock cooler then they will have to buy aftermarket which always includes a tube. Extra fans normally are not required as components are running cooler and any cases suggested for high end builds will have adequate stock cooling as standard.
              Gaming PC: GTX 680 | FX-8320 | 12GB | Asus Crosshair Formula IV | Crucial BX100 250gb and OCZ Agility 3 60gb |1.5tb Storage| Fractal Design Arc R2 | Enermax 700w | Custom Watercooling
              Laptop: HP Elitebook 2570p - i5 2.8Ghz, 8gb Phone: Huawei P8