Question Novice computer builder?

Sep 25, 2020
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So, I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. The extent of my computer knowledge is having heard the words graphic card once or twice. I want to learn how to build a gaming computer. Nothing too special, nothing expensive, just as simple as it can get that let's me run a few games. Right now, I only have a hp Intel Pentium I believe and that just doesn't run games very well. I need any and all suggestions, help, link, information, tips, whatever you can think that will help a first time builder
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
The extent of my computer knowledge is having heard the words graphic card once or twice.
That's ok, we all started out not knowing anything at all as well.

What kind of budget do you feel you have to work with and what exactly do you need?

Typically, a common build will include CPU, motherboard, memory, graphics card, CPU cooler, case and maybe also a fan or two in addition to whatever fans come with the case. In some cases a user will also need a keyboard, mouse, monitor and sometimes also a Windows license.

Knowing what you need or don't need, or at least what you have or don't have, so we can help make some decisions WITH you about what is actually needed would be a good place to start.

I've helped a lot of people successfully built a system for the first time, with no more help than what I can offer via this forum, so I'm sure you can do it as well. Here is a good example of a similar situation with a user who had never built a system before but together was able to pull it off without, well, without MUCH, of a hitch. LOL.

And this was a pretty high end system, recently. I'm sure with a basic gaming system you could do this easily.

 
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Sep 25, 2020
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At the moment, money isn't so much an issue necessarily. I would like it to be on the cheaper end however. I heard that a gaming pc can go anywhere between ~500usd to ~1500 usd. So maybe somewhere around $750-$850? If this isn't accurate pricing then go ahead and break my heart haha! I don't have any major expenses at the moment
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
I added some additional info to the post above.

I think you could easily do something very decent for that budget. Is there anything you DON'T need, such as you already have a monitor you think is good enough, or keyboard or mouse, etc.? If so, list what you have so we can determine if what you have is actually appropriate to go with a system like this OR we can just assume you need everything and build based on that assumption.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Ok. So something like this would be a good fit, but obviously there might be some changes or tweaks you might want to make aesthetically, based on personal preferences. I'll leave anything like headphones or speakers, as those are things you could research and add separately, not really relevant to the actual build itself.

This would give you very good 1080p performance on just about any game, with some legs to last several years. I included two 140mm case fans to add to the front as intake fans, and you can move the 120mm fan it comes preinstalled with to the top-rear fan location as a second exhaust fan along with the other 120mm fan that comes preinstalled in the rear-top exhaust fan location to give you a good balance, slightly towards the positive pressure side, of two front 140mm intake fans and two 120mm exhaust fans. Plenty of airflow for this configuration without being overkill or spending money on fancy lights and RGB unnecessarily.

As I said, if you have aesthetic considerations you'd like to address or include, it's your money, we can do whatever you want. I can even give you a build that's cheaper than this for even lower tier budget gaming, but I think this is a system that gives you good 1080p ultra gaming now and into the next few years, and possibly even high setting 1080p for five or six years on some of the more demanding games.

The monitor is a whole other discussion, that I'm happy to have, but it is somewhat of a "holistic" consideration as usually the biggest priorities are if the card is appropriate to the resolution and refresh rate, if the panel is good quality AND if the size and panel type are appropriate to you. Some amount of the decision regarding size will be determined by how far away the monitor can be placed from where you will primarily be sitting.

At 1.5 to 2ft, a 27" monitor is fine, but whether it's a 1080p or 1440p is going to be down to what you are comfortable with in terms of visual quality and how good your eyes are. Lots of things to consider, but I highly recommend not skimping out and I don't think a higher resolution unit like 1440p or 4k are a good idea for a build like this unless you are willing to spend an extra hundred bucks or so on the graphics card. Anything less than a 2070 or equivalent is going to require some lowering of settings.

This might even be more capable than what you are looking for, and if so, we can always tweak the build to adjust the cost and performance capability, but I think this is a very good option for an beginner entry level gaming system for somebody that doesn't want to get instantly frustrated by a lack of capability.

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: Intel Core i5-10400 2.9 GHz 6-Core Processor ($179.98 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock B460 Steel Legend ATX LGA1200 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-2933 CL16 Memory ($72.98 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate BarraCuda 510 500 GB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive ($79.98 @ Amazon)
Storage: Crucial MX500 1 TB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($114.99 @ Adorama)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 6 GB KO GAMING Video Card ($309.99 @ Walmart)
Case: Fractal Design Meshify C ATX Mid Tower Case ($97.89 @ B&H)
Power Supply: SeaSonic FOCUS 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply ($89.99 @ B&H)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($108.78 @ Other World Computing)
Case Fan: Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-14 68.4 CFM 140 mm Fan ($14.99 @ Amazon)
Case Fan: Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-14 68.4 CFM 140 mm Fan ($14.99 @ Amazon)
Keyboard: Corsair K55 + HARPOON RGB Wired Gaming Keyboard With Optical Mouse ($69.99 @ Corsair)
Total: $1274.54
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-09-26 01:11 EDT-0400
 
Sep 25, 2020
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Thank you! This is super appreciated, seriously. You taking the time to help is amazing. I'm not really one who needs super aesthetically pleasing things. As long as it looks clean and doesn't take up too much space, I'm happy.

Leading into my next question, how do I start this? What tools do I need? Are there any videos you would recommend that make it super easy?
 

madmatt30

Titan
Ambassador
I've thrown this together with pretty much the sole intention of getting you value for money including a decent monitor and also as a comparison with a full amd build as opposed to intel and nvidia.

I have no criticism of Darkbreezes build whatsoever, this is just another option for you to peruse.

You could mix and match up to a point, I personally think the 5600xt is a better GPU than a 2060 for $50 less layout though

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600 3.4 GHz 6-Core Processor ($144.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock B450 Pro4 ATX AM4 Motherboard ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Team T-FORCE VULCAN Z 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16 Memory ($54.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Crucial P1 500 GB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive ($59.99 @ Adorama)
Storage: Crucial MX500 1 TB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($114.99 @ Adorama)
Video Card: MSI Radeon RX 5600 XT 6 GB GAMING MX Video Card ($269.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Define S2 Blackout ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec Earthwatts Gold Pro 650 W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply ($94.99 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($108.78 @ Other World Computing)
Monitor: HP P27h G4 27.0" 1920x1080 60 Hz Monitor ($149.99 @ Staples)
Total: $1198.69
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-09-26 02:28 EDT-0400
 
Reactions: JakeShower

madmatt30

Titan
Ambassador
Thank you! That's even so much better of a price. I really appreciate this again.
Its older tech, the ryzen 2600 is cheap because it's a generation old now.

The board and socket though are still current.

The build is just based on good performance at a good price, it wouldn't disappoint in the slightest as a gaming rig.

Monitor is just thrown in as a placeholder tbh, £150 is an average price for something decent.

In the UK I would always head over to laptopsdirect for monitors, they massively undercut any other retailer, offer free delivery and have their own branded electriq screens with 2 year guarantee (I've seen numerous models and apart from slightly plastic my build quality the panels are absolutely first class)

Cases in point

27 inch freesync 75htz ips for £120

https://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk/electriq-27-ips-full-hd-75hz-monitor-eiq-27mf75i/version.asp

25 inch freesync 165htz va £130

https://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk/electriq-25-full-hd-hdr-165hz-freesync-vsync-5ms-gaming-monitor-eiq-25fhd165tfsgh/version.asp
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
In point of fact, my TRUE advice would be to wait. The new Ryzen 5000 series CPUs will be coming very soon. By the end of the year if the hints from AMD are accurate. These will likely offer better performance, and also potentially drive down the price of current Gen Ryzen CPUs AND probably also Intel CPUs, on top of which I expect there to be DEEP discounts on SOME hardware come November and December because I really don't think people are going to spend as much on holiday shopping as they normally due for a couple of reasons.

One, a lot of people already spent a lot of money upgrading stuff during the last five months because, Covid-19.

Two, a lot of people might be hesitant to be quite as spend happy this year because the holidays themselves are likely not going to be the same as what we're normally used to AND a lot of people are not as well off or even employed or in stable situations because of Covid, fires, world events, election year and possibly alien invaders from deep space. Ok, I made that last part up, but everything else has happened this year so I wouldn't count it out just yet.

Anyhow, there might not only be some gains to be had for the same price on as current hardware, on new hardware, but also less expensive current hardware as well. Also, the Nvidia 30 series Ampere release IS driving down the cost of current Gen graphics cards PLUS at some point in the coming months there will be mainstream models coming in the 30 series which are supposed to offer significantly higher performance than same tier hardware from the current generation of Nvidia and AMD cards, for less money, but obviously we'll have to see about that.

As far as the Ryzen 2600 is concerned, no knock to Matt at all, because that IS a system that could work, but for me, I'm not willing to spend 1200 dollars on a platform that is already two years old. To me, it's like spending ten bucks on a week old sandwich. It just isn't going to taste right no matter how much musty you put on it. LOL.

If I am going Ryzen, and don't want to wait until November or December for 5000 series CPUs, then I'd personally look at this option which I think is a lot better myself, but again, there's really nothing wrong with that build either other than it's a little older and has a bit weaker performance than current Gen Ryzen or pretty much any Gen Intel since Skylake, when it comes to single core or equivalent core performance in gaming.

Also Matt, you didn't include any keyboard or mouse, but I like the choice of the Define S2 better than the Define C I picked. I didn't realize the price had come back down on those, because they were up around 150 bucks last time I checked.

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.6 GHz 6-Core Processor ($204.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: MSI B450 Gaming Plus MAX ATX AM4 Motherboard ($104.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws V 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3600 CL16 Memory ($78.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 970 Evo Plus 250 GB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive ($69.98 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda Compute 2 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER 6 GB SC ULTRA GAMING Video Card ($239.99 @ Walmart)
Case: Fractal Design Define S2 Blackout ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic FOCUS 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply ($89.99 @ B&H)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($108.78 @ Other World Computing)
Case Fan: Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-14 68.4 CFM 140 mm Fan ($14.99 @ Amazon)
Case Fan: Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-14 68.4 CFM 140 mm Fan ($14.99 @ Amazon)
Monitor: Samsung CF398 27.0" 1920x1080 60 Hz Monitor ($189.99 @ Adorama)
Keyboard: Corsair K55 + HARPOON RGB Wired Gaming Keyboard With Optical Mouse ($69.99 @ Corsair)
Total: $1352.64
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-09-26 05:09 EDT-0400



And this, you should watch three or four times, and then beyond that Youtube is your friend as far as finding installation instructions on a specific hardware basis, for things like the M.2 drive, case fans, or anything you get stumped on. Or, you can simply ask here, and one of us will point you to the appropriate video tutorial. There is very little these days not covered by video somewhere, for things like the CPU cooler or whatever you might get stumped on.

Watch all three of these.





When it comes time to install Windows, after the system has been assembled, I have you covered there with my installation tutorial found here:



And any other questions you happen to come across or get tripped up with, myself or somebody else here will be happy to help you with it so long as you have a little patience, you'd be surprised how some don't, as obviously we're not always on here and it might take a little while before we happen to get back here to check for new posts.
 

madmatt30

Titan
Ambassador
In point of fact, my TRUE advice would be to wait. The new Ryzen 5000 series CPUs will be coming very soon. By the end of the year if the hints from AMD are accurate. These will likely offer better performance, and also potentially drive down the price of current Gen Ryzen CPUs AND probably also Intel CPUs, on top of which I expect there to be DEEP discounts on SOME hardware come November and December because I really don't think people are going to spend as much on holiday shopping as they normally due for a couple of reasons.

One, a lot of people already spent a lot of money upgrading stuff during the last five months because, Covid-19.

Two, a lot of people might be hesitant to be quite as spend happy this year because the holidays themselves are likely not going to be the same as what we're normally used to AND a lot of people are not as well off or even employed or in stable situations because of Covid, fires, world events, election year and possibly alien invaders from deep space. Ok, I made that last part up, but everything else has happened this year so I wouldn't count it out just yet.

Anyhow, there might not only be some gains to be had for the same price on as current hardware, on new hardware, but also less expensive current hardware as well. Also, the Nvidia 30 series Ampere release IS driving down the cost of current Gen graphics cards PLUS at some point in the coming months there will be mainstream models coming in the 30 series which are supposed to offer significantly higher performance than same tier hardware from the current generation of Nvidia and AMD cards, for less money, but obviously we'll have to see about that.

As far as the Ryzen 2600 is concerned, no knock to Matt at all, because that IS a system that could work, but for me, I'm not willing to spend 1200 dollars on a platform that is already two years old. To me, it's like spending ten bucks on a week old sandwich. It just isn't going to taste right no matter how much musty you put on it. LOL.

If I am going Ryzen, and don't want to wait until November or December for 5000 series CPUs, then I'd personally look at this option which I think is a lot better myself, but again, there's really nothing wrong with that build either other than it's a little older and has a bit weaker performance than current Gen Ryzen or pretty much any Gen Intel since Skylake, when it comes to single core or equivalent core performance in gaming.

Also Matt, you didn't include any keyboard or mouse, but I like the choice of the Define S2 better than the Define C I picked. I didn't realize the price had come back down on those, because they were up around 150 bucks last time I checked.

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.6 GHz 6-Core Processor ($204.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: MSI B450 Gaming Plus MAX ATX AM4 Motherboard ($104.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws V 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3600 CL16 Memory ($78.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 970 Evo Plus 250 GB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive ($69.98 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda Compute 2 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER 6 GB SC ULTRA GAMING Video Card ($239.99 @ Walmart)
Case: Fractal Design Define S2 Blackout ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic FOCUS 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply ($89.99 @ B&H)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($108.78 @ Other World Computing)
Case Fan: Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-14 68.4 CFM 140 mm Fan ($14.99 @ Amazon)
Case Fan: Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-14 68.4 CFM 140 mm Fan ($14.99 @ Amazon)
Monitor: Samsung CF398 27.0" 1920x1080 60 Hz Monitor ($189.99 @ Adorama)
Keyboard: Corsair K55 + HARPOON RGB Wired Gaming Keyboard With Optical Mouse ($69.99 @ Corsair)
Total: $1352.64
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-09-26 05:09 EDT-0400



And this, you should watch three or four times, and then beyond that Youtube is your friend as far as finding installation instructions on a specific hardware basis, for things like the M.2 drive, case fans, or anything you get stumped on. Or, you can simply ask here, and one of us will point you to the appropriate video tutorial. There is very little these days not covered by video somewhere, for things like the CPU cooler or whatever you might get stumped on.

Watch all three of these.





When it comes time to install Windows, after the system has been assembled, I have you covered there with my installation tutorial found here:



And any other questions you happen to come across or get tripped up with, myself or somebody else here will be happy to help you with it so long as you have a little patience, you'd be surprised how some don't, as obviously we're not always on here and it might take a little while before we happen to get back here to check for new posts.
I'm in agreement on waiting with you tbh.

Its kind of about the worst possible time to build when so many new ranges are due out both cpu and gpu wise.

All I've done is pick the absolute best price to performance ratio cpu/gpu/mb at this current time.

I honestly do think that combo is the 2600 and the 5600xt (at this exact moment in time)

As you said though the issue is that in 2 months the 3600 could likely be at the same price point and there may be more powerful gpu's around for the same or even less money.

Re the s2, would be my case of choice at that price point without a doubt for a bling free build, a great novice builders case too, great preinstalled cooling and no need to add anything to it.

I love fractal, best case manufacturer around imo. My Define R5 will probably be with me forever!
 

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