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The RPGamer Computer Rebuild/Building Help thread. ^^

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  • ChickenGodChickenGod Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderators
    edited July 2013
    Well, my new case came in the mail today, and I just thought I'd vent some frustration in this thread.

    There were a number of things wrong with it and I'm going to try and get a refund and a different case if possible. If anyone's curious the one I have issue with is the Rosewill THOR v.2. First issue I had with it was that the fans were mysteriously dirty. I wasn't sure why they had that so much dust or whatever had accumulated on them, but okay, no big deal. The instructions that came with the case were pretty bogus too, some of the images that were shown were flat out false, like how the expansion ports had a locking mechanism but actually used thumb screws. Still no big deal. Then it came time to put in my GFX card, and let me tell you, that was absolute hell. The case is more than large enough to support the biggest video cards available, but for some reason the little metal bars were bent inward, JUST enough to prevent my card from squeezing in like it should have. I tried really hard for several hours, and then contemplated taking a pair of plyers to it, which allowed my card to barely fit in there. Then comes the kicker, after getting everything set up, I find that two fans won't even turn on. After troubleshooting and testing the erroneous fans in the same configuration that the working ones were, I discovered that these two were DOA. So frustrating.

    Now I'm at this crappy impasse where I messed with the case just a little bit, and now risk the possibility of not getting a refund on this crappy product.
  • maryadaviesmaryadavies She Shoots For The Stars Somewhere east of Atlanta, GAModerators
    edited July 2013
    BTW, all but the fans and the kb came yesterday (since I ordered the kb from Amazon and the fans from somewhere else)

    Hopefully they'll come today and 'Neko will be able to do the building Thursday.
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  • ChickenGodChickenGod Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderators
    edited July 2013
    That ought to be a good 4th of July present Mary. Hope everything you get is in working order!

    As for me, I managed to get a full refund from Amazon, so hurray for that. Think I'm going to get the Corsair 500R series this time since I didn't want to risk getting a replacement. As much love as I have for a LED Thor logo, its just not worth another potential headache.
  • maryadaviesmaryadavies She Shoots For The Stars Somewhere east of Atlanta, GAModerators
    edited July 2013
    I hit a minor snag. Excuse the geeky here but..

    My case fans need a Molex adapter to work and I didn't know it when I got them >< So now I have to wait until Saturday to get it built at the earliest. (Basically it's to plug them into the PSU since case fans are going all the time.)

    Makes me a little steamed b/c WHY THE FRICK DIDN'T THEY COME WITH IT?

    As for the smaller ones, they won't fit but my sister needed some new fans anyway so I'm not as steamed there. I'm more steamed about no adapters.
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  • HyphyKezzyHyphyKezzy The Best Full Members
    edited July 2013
    Glad you're getting that settled ChickenGod.

    Mary, I'm curious why you're not willing (able?) to plug your case fans right into the mobo. That's how I've got mine set up. Does Cat know something I don't and should I dig in there and change it?
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  • ChickenGodChickenGod Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderators
    edited July 2013
    HyphyKezzy wrote: »
    Glad you're getting that settled ChickenGod.

    Mary, I'm curious why you're not willing (able?) to plug your case fans right into the mobo. That's how I've got mine set up. Does Cat know something I don't and should I dig in there and change it?

    Thanks Hyphy. Overall I think it worked out good this way, the new case is cheaper and should be several inches smaller, which is preferred.

    I can't speak directly for Mary, but my ASRock motherboard only has 2 CHA Fan plug ins. Running 5 or more fans with that mobo requires a converter or splitter cable of some kind so the remaining ones can plug directly into the power supply. You shouldn't need to change anything if its they've been solid for you.
  • maryadaviesmaryadavies She Shoots For The Stars Somewhere east of Atlanta, GAModerators
    edited July 2013
    I'm willing but 'Cat told me that most mbs do not have enough ports for fans, so you have to plug at least one into the psu. Which is fugging annoying! As I was telling a friend of mine in FFXI, why the frick do they not come with that adapter just in case? Proly to make more money I guess.
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  • HyphyKezzyHyphyKezzy The Best Full Members
    edited July 2013
    Okay, that makes sense. I went with fewer, larger fans to keep things quiet and temps have been fine so I should be good. Hope everything goes smoothly from here on out Mary. I'm looking forward to reading a successful post from the new pc in a few days.
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  • ShadowcatShadowcat Member Full Members
    edited July 2013
    Well after I get this put together(I'm the tech and I have to assemble these parts) I'm using all that old hardware to make Ubuntu internet machines(yay firefox and Libre office!) and maybe a house file server. (My dad's old AMD too but there may be a war there) If there's no more XP security updates and we're still in bad straights I can't see tossing working machines so they get reformatted into stuff people around here can use.

    Also I've seen several motherboards and when you try to plug in about three fans they never have enough plugins for it. I always end up plugging one or maybe two into the power supply...
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  • flamethrowerflamethrower Member Full Members
    edited July 2013
    I'd have Mary do it if I were you. Standard PC builds are easy enough for the average person; she could learn how. Then she won't bug you in a few years when it's time for a new one or for upgrades.

    Techniques for standard PC builds haven't changed much in a very long time, since 1980 or so. Various things have come along like SATA and extra power connectors for the CPU and graphics cards. However, these are minor changes. The basic process is still the same.
  • maryadaviesmaryadavies She Shoots For The Stars Somewhere east of Atlanta, GAModerators
    edited July 2013
    Flamethrower; 'Cat has built all the PCs in the house since he got his computer certs a while ago. I am thinking about asking him to teach me a bit though; I know the software side, maybe I should learn the hardware side in case I move out or something someday. ^^

    He doesn't charge for family but there is ONE rule; he's not a parts store. So get your own parts!
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  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited July 2013
    So I'm kicking off my own rebuild. It'll be part by part over the next several months. I just ordered a new case, since my current case is around 15 years old (old enough that it was before the fad of having windows in the side, and I cut one in myself with a dremel).

    I think the next piece I'm going to pick up will be a power supply. Last time I bought a power supply, 500W was teh hawt ****e. I've been told that is pretty underpowered by modern gaming PC standards. I'm not trying to build a gaming PC per se, but pretty much everything is an upgrade. What is a good wattage for a power supply these days? Anything else I should know? (I'm still thrown off by power supplies being mounted on the bottom of the case now. weird).
  • ChickenGodChickenGod Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderators
    edited July 2013
    smacd wrote: »
    So I'm kicking off my own rebuild. It'll be part by part over the next several months. I just ordered a new case, since my current case is around 15 years old (old enough that it was before the fad of having windows in the side, and I cut one in myself with a dremel).

    I think the next piece I'm going to pick up will be a power supply. Last time I bought a power supply, 500W was teh hawt ****e. I've been told that is pretty underpowered by modern gaming PC standards. I'm not trying to build a gaming PC per se, but pretty much everything is an upgrade. What is a good wattage for a power supply these days? Anything else I should know? (I'm still thrown off by power supplies being mounted on the bottom of the case now. weird).

    Well, most people say you should get one that is at minimum 80 PLUS Bronze certified or higher, if only for safety and consistency's sake. Make sure you check the amperage on the 12v rails, sometimes higher wattage power supplies have poor amperage lowering amount of watts they can continually output. Depending on your graphics card and if you don't want to overclock you could definitely stay at 500W, though you can probably find a similarly priced 600-750W PSU that should cover you very nicely into the future. If you're into the LED lights you can probably find one in lots of different colors too.

    Something like this is pretty great at $70 if you don't mind the whole rebate thing.
  • maryadaviesmaryadavies She Shoots For The Stars Somewhere east of Atlanta, GAModerators
    edited July 2013
    Since this has become..a help topic for building pcs, I went ahead and changed the thread title. No worries guys.

    And yeah; with me I may eventually upscale the PSU since I DO like to tinker (add more memory, change out vid cards, maybe add that drive, etc) but that's a bit down the road. ^^ A friend told me that Seasonic psus are actually generic Corsair psus (which is the current top rated psu); I try to get powersupplies that are solid, I'm a little allergic to them crapping out on me. Good brands in general imo are Antec, Seasonic and Corsair.
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  • flamethrowerflamethrower Member Full Members
    edited July 2013
    You can add any number of drives or RAM without upgrading the PSU. Spinning disks need ~10W to work; solid state drives need up to 5W.

    By comparison GPUs can require 200W+. The GTX 760 (new midrange GPU) could draw 170W maximum under load (according to Nvidia "TDP" specifications). You need a large PSU if you want to run two GPUs.
  • maryadaviesmaryadavies She Shoots For The Stars Somewhere east of Atlanta, GAModerators
    edited July 2013
    Well, since I usually only run 1 graphics card, I'm proly fine. Well, unless newer graphics cards get to be serious power suckers later.

    Oh and the adapters came; I need to wait for 'Cat to have a free day, then I'll have my new pc!
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  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited July 2013
    I'm currently thinking about the Corsair TX650. I think it's a decent price on Amazon, and has the 80 Plus Bronze. That should be a reasonable one for a mid-range rig capable of gaming. I don't plan on having more than one video card, but it'd be nice to have the option. I planned to SLI my current setup originally, but never did. Though I could, I found an identical card to the one I have, at Goodwill for $3... makes me sad about the $150 I'd spent originally heh.

    I'd just keep the one I have, but after 7 years its probably a good thing to get a new one. I don't know the life expectancy of a typical PSU, nor even the make/model of the one I have anymore. I'd not be surprised if its wearing down and the main cause of the random power downs I've been having the last year or so.
  • ChickenGodChickenGod Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderators
    edited July 2013
    Glad to your build is about to be complete Mary. Hopefully everything works without a hitch for you.

    Smacd, I tend to agree with your outlook on PSUs. Generally I buy a cheap but reasonable one to save money in the long run. On one hand I have a little buyer's remorse for not getting something a little better, but on the other I know I'm probably not going to need it unless like Mary says newer GFX cards start needing some heavy wattage. Switching every 5+ years is probably a good idea too, and you could always keep your old one in case someone you know ever needs a spare to tide them over.

    As for me, my new Carbide 500r case came in two days ago and the installation went perfect. No dead fans, most of the motherboard standoffs were already screwed in, extra fans were simple to add, fan speed controllers worked, and the video card went in smooth as butter as opposed to struggling for hours to get it in. Also, its just the right size for where I want the case to sit. Good stuff here from Corsair.
  • HyphyKezzyHyphyKezzy The Best Full Members
    edited July 2013
    Good things going on in here! A nice replacement case for ChickenGod, Mary's build about to go down, and smacd getting started so we'll have something to talk about going forward in the newly repurposed thread.

    Smacd, I'll throw out that modular supplies like the one ChickenGod linked are pretty convenient. Sounds like you've got a good amount of time to watch for a deal on one so it may not even cost much, if any, more. Stepping down to 650 should still give you plenty of headroom though.
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  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited July 2013
    Just received my new computer case. Its a Corsair 600T. I didn't realize it was going to be quite as large as it is, the depth is quite a bit longer than my current case is, and its considerably wider as well. I guess that "mid-tower" isn't quite the same as it used to be. I'm not displeased, just hoping it'll fit under my desk when I finish building it out. The features are a significant improvement over my 15 year old beast of a case.

    I'll probably order a PSU on my next paycheck.
  • maryadaviesmaryadavies She Shoots For The Stars Somewhere east of Atlanta, GAModerators
    edited July 2013
    YAY! Computer build is done. It's going to be a bit before my system is back to normal. Gonna install my joystick driver next (well, the Dual Shock 2 adapter) and then leave FFXI updating all night.

    Man..compared to my old pc this one runs like a dream. Thanks for the help Shadowcat, even if you were cranky this evening! *hugs her brother*
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  • ChickenGodChickenGod Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderators
    edited July 2013
    smacd wrote: »
    Just received my new computer case. Its a Corsair 600T. I didn't realize it was going to be quite as large as it is, the depth is quite a bit longer than my current case is, and its considerably wider as well. I guess that "mid-tower" isn't quite the same as it used to be. I'm not displeased, just hoping it'll fit under my desk when I finish building it out. The features are a significant improvement over my 15 year old beast of a case.

    Yeah, I noticed that too with the Thor case. To be honest I don't think they measured it with the rubber stands or top fins open either. When looking for a replacement, it was kind of surprising to see how large most of the "Mid Tower" cases were. Hopefully the 600T serves you just as well as the 500R has for me.
    YAY! Computer build is done. It's going to be a bit before my system is back to normal. Gonna install my joystick driver next (well, the Dual Shock 2 adapter) and then leave FFXI updating all night.

    Man..compared to my old pc this one runs like a dream. Thanks for the help Shadowcat, even if you were cranky this evening! *hugs her brother*

    Congrats Mary! I ended up turning on my old PC too when practicing removal of thermal paste, and it was like night and day. Shocking that I put up with that for years, and most other people I know have it way worse than I did. Nothing like being satisfied with what you bought, thats for sure.
  • HyphyKezzyHyphyKezzy The Best Full Members
    edited July 2013
    Ahhhh, that new PC feeling! Glad it all worked out for you Mary.
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  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited July 2013
    Can someone school me on current CPU trends?

    My current CPU is an AMD Athlon 64 4000+, back when AMD was briefly superior to Intel. Other than being involved in the Nehalem architecture development at Intel, I haven't followed CPU trends since around 2006. I have no idea what the difference between a core i3 and a core i7, or if there are options other than "core i#" from Intel

    I'd like a reasonable mid-range multi-core processor, maybe in the $150-$250 range. Preferably Intel this time around. Gaming isn't the priority with this rig, but it needs to be capable of it.

    As a side note, mostly asking so I can plan further out and keep my eyes out for better deals. The PSU I wanted decided to go off sale and up in price by $30 the same day I got paid, so I'll probably wait awhile before I get one. Might start looking for other components.

    The new keyboard and mouse I've selected. I still have a PS/2 keyboard and an early USB laser mouse. Could even start using these immediately.
  • flamethrowerflamethrower Member Full Members
    edited July 2013
    Short answer:
    If you plan to use one GPU and your application is gaming only, AMD is better. Note: It's better because it's cheaper than Intel by a big margin and the additional performance won't increase your game framerates because you're GPU limited. Their line of "Trinity" APUs are good for desktop PCs.
    If you plan to use two GPUs or possibly even more, Intel is better.
    Link

    Also: It is expensive but you should try to afford an SSD of any type. This component will have the most impact on user experience, possibly even more than CPU / GPU.

    Also, your PC is quite old. It is likely any replacement you get will be 100% faster or possibly more.
  • maryadaviesmaryadavies She Shoots For The Stars Somewhere east of Atlanta, GAModerators
    edited July 2013
    Flame; lemme go with what I learned from talking on FFXI boards earlier when I was doing my research.

    Most hardcore gamers seem to really like Intel since they do tend to have better performance. Of course, for the lower end, AMD can work, but AMD also did a little bad on their first multicore, so the consensus is Intel is the better chip maker atm. (At least from BG folks, many of them are very serious gamers. I haven't seen any builds from there that have more than one graphics card however; more than one gpu might be in them though.)

    There's no consensus on video cards; some like Nivida, some like AMD ones. It depends on the person. ^^

    Also many gamer systems have a SSD in them b/c of performance. (Mine doesn't atm but then again, that was one thing I am doing without for the moment)

    And I agree with Flame on this score; Any computer you build at this point will blow you away in terms of speed. Mine does and I had that old single core AMD (Yes I like the older AMDs) a very long time, so this one feels rip-roaringly fast now. ^^
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  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited July 2013
    Just put in an order for a Corsair TX750M PSU. Was waiting for either the 750 or the 850 to go back below $100 to pick one up.
    Also, your PC is quite old. It is likely any replacement you get will be 100% faster or possibly more.
    And I agree with Flame on this score; Any computer you build at this point will blow you away in terms of speed. Mine does and I had that old single core AMD (Yes I like the older AMDs) a very long time, so this one feels rip-roaringly fast now. ^^

    Absolutely. I know my computer is significantly out of date at this point. Upgrading it after I finished college and just started working was not a priority with limited funds. Now, not so limited.
    Also: It is expensive but you should try to afford an SSD of any type. This component will have the most impact on user experience, possibly even more than CPU / GPU.
    Also many gamer systems have a SSD in them b/c of performance. (Mine doesn't atm but then again, that was one thing I am doing without for the moment)

    Yeah, I've been thinking about doing some sort of RAID array for data storage using some large capacity non-SSD drives, and then getting an SSD for my OS and install drive. But all that decision making is still further down the pipe.

    Short answer:
    If you plan to use one GPU and your application is gaming only, AMD is better. Note: It's better because it's cheaper than Intel by a big margin and the additional performance won't increase your game framerates because you're GPU limited. Their line of "Trinity" APUs are good for desktop PCs.
    If you plan to use two GPUs or possibly even more, Intel is better.
    Link
    Most hardcore gamers seem to really like Intel since they do tend to have better performance. Of course, for the lower end, AMD can work, but AMD also did a little bad on their first multicore, so the consensus is Intel is the better chip maker atm. (At least from BG folks, many of them are very serious gamers. I haven't seen any builds from there that have more than one graphics card however; more than one gpu might be in them though.)

    Thanks for the link. I still think I need to do some more research here. At this point I'm pretty set on Intel. I just need to figure out the differences between the options available, and what is in my price range. I don't necessarily plan to use multiple GPUs, but it might be an option later.
    There's no consensus on video cards; some like Nivida, some like AMD ones. It depends on the person. ^^

    I am absolutely an nVidia guy. Always have, always will. Every ATI card any of my friends got (back in the late 90s/early 2000s) fried or otherwise had performance issues. And I won't deny that the ATI/AMD merger is one of the contributing factors to my distaste with AMD now. Brand loyalty is an odd thing but I admit that I have it. Video cards are something I'm probably not going to be really looking into for several months though.
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited July 2013
    I've been doing some research on CPUs, and I'm narrowing in on an Intel Core i5 model. After figuring out what the letter tags mean (K, S, T, P, etc), I was hoping to find an i5-3570P, since I don't really want an on-board GPU, but they don't seem to make them. The next best option seems to be the i5-3570K. I'm not a big overclocker, but the option seems nice.

    After researching the difference between Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, and Haswell, I think I'm going with Ivy. There is an i5-4670 with the Haswell architecture, but apparently Haswell runs hotter than Ivy and I'd rather have my system run cooler. Is there any good reasons to go with the Haswell chip over the Ivy Bridge? Or anything else I should know?
  • maryadaviesmaryadavies She Shoots For The Stars Somewhere east of Atlanta, GAModerators
    edited July 2013
    I wasn't familiar with that when I chose my processor. I actually checked around, checked Blue Gartr (Well, that's one of the big FFXI/XIV boards around; beware if you go looking for that board, it is full of trolls, not to mention gamer elitists (Which can be good or bad, depending on how they act and if they're nice or not)) and the consensus is what I got for midrange. So I don't think there's much of a advantage; if you do get the higher one, just make sure you have enough/strong enough fans(which will solve any cooling issue; for a beginner computer builder I wouldn't recommend you try to watercool; it's too complicated. I don't even do that, and not just cuz 'Cat has never put that together). High end, you go for a I7 not a I5, but since that may not be in the budget, make sure your motherboard can take both for possible upgrades.

    I think the consensus is quadcore is the best you can get; higher numbers might give you a little better performance but not much. Also don't overclock unless you are willing to put in some major cooling, since that makes it run a lot hotter. I don't overclock my stuff tho the option is there, but that's me.

    My thoughts; if I were you, I'd go with the i5-3570K. That's what I got and I'm perfectly happy with it. ^^ Can get you full stats if you want, but it plays FFXI fine with artifacts (Most modern video cards have that problem; it's because it's such a old game) and plays Portal 2 like a dream.
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  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited July 2013
    Thanks, yeah I think I'll go with this one. I probably should have re-read some of the older posts in this thread, ha.

    I wouldn't call myself a beginning by a long shot, I just stopped paying attention to the details several years ago and lost track of what modern components are doing. I've never done a water cooling system though. I wanted to way back around 2000, but it was too expensive and I'm too lazy to set it up properly and maintain it. I probably won't overclock, although if I do it'll be a little bit rather than maxing out.

    I'm actually trying to lock into the CPU I want now so that I can look for a good motherboard first. By the time I get around to grabbing the CPU, hopefully the price has dropped a bit. I don't really have a hard budget, but I'm trying to buy pieces over time so that I can get decent parts depending on my paycheck, which is quite variable right now.
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