help a noob buy a pc!

hello, a few weeks ago i made a topic here asking for advice on purchasing a new laptop, and it was strongly suggested to me that i get a desktop instead, and after careful consideration, i've decided they were right.

so what advice can you give? i really have no idea what im doing.

should i avoid big box stores like future shop and best buy, and go for a more independant retailer? how do i avoid getting loaded down with bloatware? is there anything special i need if i wanted to use it to make music? any insight you can offer will be much appreesh.

If you live near a Microcenter or similar large electronic retailer, Id recommend buying from there. Otherwise Newegg.com and Amazon.com are the best places to buy parts for a new PC.

This is a great thread to get you started

What is you budget? And will you only use it for gaming?\

POST 666 :D

-Step number one is always to define what you need the computer to do, from there you can determine how much performance you need, and in which categories. For example, I personally am an avid gamer that uses professional graphics and simulation programs as part of my degree curriculum (engineering student), as a result, my hardware requirements are much higher than normal, almost across the board.

-In terms of keeping your desktop up to date and reliable for years to come, your motherboard, power supply, CPU, and cooling system matter more than anything else in that box, partly because everything else is easily replaced/upgraded. One unfortunately common mistake for a person getting a custom PC is to neglect the PSU, only to watch the bargain basement unit fry that expensive graphics card they bought, or simply not be able to process enough wattage to match the drain. Major PC suppliers tend to be good about not giving out faulty models as part of their prebuilt PCs, but you may wish to double check regardless.

-Newegg.com is a fantastic source for new and used computers, computer parts, and accessories. Amazon.com and eBay can also be useful but tend to be a bit more risky.

-Major retailers can also be a good resource, you can sometimes find great deals through them, but run the risk of getting gouged if you are not careful. One good practice to cover your arse when buying from them is to take a look at a model you are interested in, go online, and find out how much the individual components are worth.

i can't really buy online because i dont have a credit card. my budget is about $1000 CAD, and i want to get a midi controller aswell and a good pair of headphones to make music. also thanks for the link, theres some good stuff in there.

i dont live very near to any dedicated electronics retailers, except for this one http://microkool.com/
they're a very small company that only recently opened a second store, my dad usually takes his pc there to have it repaired and whatnot.

Carrots_macduff:
i can't really buy online because i dont have a credit card. my budget is about $1000 CAD, and i want to get a midi controller aswell and a good pair of headphones to make music. also thanks for the link, theres some good stuff in there.

i dont live very near to any dedicated electronics retailers, except for this one http://microkool.com/
they're a very small company that only recently opened a second store, my dad usually takes his pc there to have it repaired and whatnot.

If music constructing is the only other consideration, then all you really need to add to the parts list is a sound card.

I urge you to order online for the more expensive bits of the PC. A decent power supply, case, monitor, and hard drive you can probably find at your local store without any trouble. If they don't sell Windows 7 64bit then go look for an office supply store, such as Staples, they'll have one.

But let's start from the ground. A motherboard.

ASUS P8H61-I R2.0 $86. This is a pretty small one, but cheap too. It leave a lot of money for a powerful video card and processor. The drawback I see to this is the SATA speed, how fast it can read and write data from a hard drive. It's only at 3GB/s when most can go up to 6GB/s. There also little room to upgrade your PC further.

ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 $200. A bigger, bit faster, and more expensive motherboard. With more room to add things such as a sound card or bigger and better video cards later on. Which ever you decide getting, both will support an Intel i3, i5, and i7 processor and any modern video card.

Processor.

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge $220 Within your budget this is your best bet. If you settle for the cheaper motherboard you may be able fit in a:

Intel Core i7-3770 Ivy Bridge $300 This is the newer processor, and will probably save you money in the long run when you up upgrade your PC.

RAM.

Kingston 2 x 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM $35. RAM is pretty straight forward. I've never needed to use more than 4GB, but this 8GB for the price 4GB. But you can also probably pick this up at you local store. just make sure it's 240pin DDR3 and it will work with most modern motherboards. And the 2 listed above.

Video card.

Radeon HD 5970 $265. Despite being 2 generations old, this is still one of ATI's fastest cards. You would have to spend a few hundred more dollars to get something faster. This is probably the best bang for your buck. And while I don't like buying used video cards, this card's baby brother the Sapphire HD5870, I've had for 3 years and it's still going strong. Plus this line is out of production now. If you can find one new somewhere for less than $300, take it, and tell me where you found it, please. Also consider buying a new case for it:

Accelero XTREME 5970 But it is also discontinued so you may have to hunt for it a little.

That covers the big stuff, the case, hard drive (SATA), monitor and so forth can be left up to your choosing. Tally up the cheapest options on this list and you have $400 for everything else. I couldn't tell you much about good headphones or sound cards, But I find:

Ear Force X41 To be very good. Wireless and with S/PDIF support, they sound wonderful, almost no noise from the PC compared with normal wired headsets.

That will put you down to about $300. Add an HD monitor and power supply, $100 for a hard drive, mouse, and keyboard. Which is a little over budget, if you can swap out the HD5970 for an HD5870 ($200) and you could fit it in. But shop around a bit, see what prices you get in your store before buying this stuff.

Carrots_macduff:
hello, a few weeks ago i made a topic here asking for advice on purchasing a new laptop, and it was strongly suggested to me that i get a desktop instead, and after careful consideration, i've decided they were right.

so what advice can you give? i really have no idea what im doing.

should i avoid big box stores like future shop and best buy, and go for a more independant retailer? how do i avoid getting loaded down with bloatware? is there anything special i need if i wanted to use it to make music? any insight you can offer will be much appreesh.

Well, I'm glad I can help. For prebuilt machines, Best Buy and the like are fine. I myself go to MicroCenter as they have people there who know their shit when it comes to computing. The only thing that I'd recommend when and if you go there is to swap out a prebuilt machine's graphics card with something more powerful. The processor should last you a good couple of years if you research, but you get more bang for your buck if you order the parts and make your own PC.

And speaking of which, should you chose to make your own, you will be able to make a nice gaming machine that will last you AT THE MINIMUM of 5 years. All under 1500 USD if you shop right. I highly recommend MicroCenter from above, but I will also direct you to Newegg.com and PassMark. And of course, Google is your best friend for things that won't make sense on the first read. Out of those, PassMark is a godsend if you want good processors and graphics cards for an acceptable price.

If you don't mind, I'll suggest the main parts that should go into the PC. These are my ideas on a good basis for a PC. I also got the prices from PassMark, but if you are willing to shop around, you can get those parts for cheaper.

Processor (CPU)- Intel i7-3770K Quad Core[1]. Yeah, I know it's overkill, but in this case, overkill equals future-proof. Also, the fact that you have an i7 in your desktop means that it will handle any extensive computer task you throw at it, like video editing and graphics.

Graphics Card (GPU)- Hmmmm. I'd say the Nvidia GTX 550 Ti or AMD Radeon HD 7770. It really depends on your personal preference as my experience with AMD and Nvidia has been equal on the whole. This is the more bang for your buck thing as GPUs WILL get expensive the higher end you go.

RAM- 8 GB. No one has an excuse (except for those who bought from OEMs like HP and Dell) to run on 4 gigs of RAM. You can get 16 gigs if you wish but you need to check the...

Operating System- Up to you, but check carefully for a 64-bit installation. 32-bit PCs cannot use more than 3.2[2] gigs of RAM for some reason. I think some Linux distros are able to go above the 4 gig cap, but I think you want to game, so there's no real choice except for Windows. Go Windows 8 if you can stand Metro-Modern-"whateverthefuckMSiscallingitnow", but otherwise, direct yourself to Windows 7 Professional. Windows 7 Ultimate is a waste of money and only comes with one thing that isn't in Win7 Professional, which is BitLocker.

Motherboard (Which connects all of these suckers togther)- I highly recommend ASUS motherboards as I have yet to see a bad recommendation come out of them. I'd say that get an ASUS Sabertooth Z77 to fit with the i7 above.

The total for that up to this point is...

CPU- 300 USD
GPU- 120 USD for the Radeon, 80 USD for the GTX.
RAM- 60 USD (That's what I paid for 4 sticks of Crucial DDR2 2 gig RAM) 40 USD. Wow, DDR3 RAM is cheap on Newegg!
OS- 140 USD
MB- 250 USD

...870 USD. After that, I recommend you look into cases and hard drives. I unfortunately cannot help with these, as I usually leave it up to you to decide what you want in a case and the amount of storage you need in your PC. Don't worry, you should get some hard drives and cases dirt cheap. I would recommend an SSD, but I don't have any good recommendations for brands except for Intel.

Anyway, despite things I may have missed, hope you have fun picking/building a PC and happy gaming! Always feel free to ask me questions if you need to by quoting me.

EDIT- I meant the i7-3770K. Thanks to Hazy for pointing that out.

[1] I usually don't specify the exact model, as all of the models will keep you okay for the next few years, but this is for argument's sake
[2] 3.5? That's what Windows 8 is showing me now for my PC as my dad, who was quite frankly, an idiot setting our Windows 8 machine up

A Satanic Panda:
snip

thesilentman:
snip

Are those four virtual cores on the i7 necessary for music production? If they are then I'd recommend spending an extra $20 and getting the K version so the OP has the option to overclock in future. If he does that it should last a fair bit longer before a need to upgrade.

If not then the i5 is fine and I'd recommend spending the money saved on an aftermarket cooler for overclocking.

Also OP are you wanting to game on this machine as well?

Hazy992:

A Satanic Panda:
snip

thesilentman:
snip

Are those four virtual cores on the i7 necessary for music production? If they are then I'd recommend spending an extra $20 and getting the K version so the OP has the option to overclock in future. If he does that it should last a fair bit longer before a need to upgrade.

If not then the i5 is fine and I'd recommend spending the money saved on an aftermarket cooler for overclocking.

Also OP are you wanting to game on this machine as well?

I assumed the OP wanted to game as well as music production. I usually suggest future-proof machines anyway so I thought "heck, lets' just give him a machine that'll last for a good amount of time". And good catch on the CPU; I meant to say the K version, but I guess that it was just a typo.

thesilentman:

Hazy992:

A Satanic Panda:
snip

thesilentman:
snip

Are those four virtual cores on the i7 necessary for music production? If they are then I'd recommend spending an extra $20 and getting the K version so the OP has the option to overclock in future. If he does that it should last a fair bit longer before a need to upgrade.

If not then the i5 is fine and I'd recommend spending the money saved on an aftermarket cooler for overclocking.

Also OP are you wanting to game on this machine as well?

I assumed the OP wanted to game as well as music production. I usually suggest future-proof machines anyway so I thought "heck, lets' just give him a machine that'll last for a good amount of time". And good catch on the CPU; I meant to say the K version, but I guess that it was just a typo.

Well if he wants to game the i7 is completely pointless as you'll get absolutely no benefit from hyperthreading. The i5 is more than enough for gaming and it will be for a long time. An overclocked 2500K or 3570K is a beast when it comes to gaming.

Hazy992:

thesilentman:
snip

Well if he wants to game the i7 is completely pointless as you'll get absolutely no benefit from hyperthreading. The i5 is more than enough for gaming and it will be for a long time. An overclocked 2500K or 3570K is a beast when it comes to gaming.

He said up front that he'd like to make music on his machine. Here:

Carrots_macduff:
i can't really buy online because i dont have a credit card. my budget is about $1000 CAD, and i want to get a midi controller aswell and a good pair of headphones to make music. also thanks for the link, theres some good stuff in there.

i dont live very near to any dedicated electronics retailers, except for this one http://microkool.com/
they're a very small company that only recently opened a second store, my dad usually takes his pc there to have it repaired and whatnot.

I just suggested an i7 as a multi-purpose machine, but you're right, the 2500K or the 3750K is good enough, like you said. It's all up to the OP now.

thesilentman:

Hazy992:

thesilentman:
snip

Well if he wants to game the i7 is completely pointless as you'll get absolutely no benefit from hyperthreading. The i5 is more than enough for gaming and it will be for a long time. An overclocked 2500K or 3570K is a beast when it comes to gaming.

He said up front that he'd like to make music on his machine. Here:

Carrots_macduff:
i can't really buy online because i dont have a credit card. my budget is about $1000 CAD, and i want to get a midi controller aswell and a good pair of headphones to make music. also thanks for the link, theres some good stuff in there.

i dont live very near to any dedicated electronics retailers, except for this one http://microkool.com/
they're a very small company that only recently opened a second store, my dad usually takes his pc there to have it repaired and whatnot.

I just suggested an i7 as a multi-purpose machine, but you're right, the 2500K or the 3750K is good enough, like you said. It's all up to the OP now.

I know he did that's why I initially wondered if an i7 provides any benefit for music production.

Then you said you assumed he would want to game as well and that's when I pointed out that the i7 provides no benefit there either.

So yeah an i5 seems like the best choice IMO

thanks for your help guys, i have one problem, and that is i cant buy parts online because i dont have a credit card.
suggestions?

Carrots_macduff:
thanks for your help guys, i have one problem, and that is i cant buy parts online because i dont have a credit card.
suggestions?

Get a debt card and buy them.

Carrots_macduff:
thanks for your help guys, i have one problem, and that is i cant buy parts online because i dont have a credit card.
suggestions?

Only thing I can suggest is trying that local retailer you mentioned earlier or finding some other retailer. Otherwise you're gonna have to get a debit card or something.

A Satanic Panda:

Carrots_macduff:
thanks for your help guys, i have one problem, and that is i cant buy parts online because i dont have a credit card.
suggestions?

Get a debt card and buy them.

Hazy992:

Carrots_macduff:
thanks for your help guys, i have one problem, and that is i cant buy parts online because i dont have a credit card.
suggestions?

Only thing I can suggest is trying that local retailer you mentioned earlier or finding some other retailer. Otherwise you're gonna have to get a debit card or something.

i have a debit card but i didnt think i could use it make online purchases, but i could be wrong. ill look into it

Hazy992:

Carrots_macduff:
thanks for your help guys, i have one problem, and that is i cant buy parts online because i dont have a credit card.
suggestions?

Only thing I can suggest is trying that local retailer you mentioned earlier or finding some other retailer. Otherwise you're gonna have to get a debit card or something.

A Satanic Panda:

Carrots_macduff:
thanks for your help guys, i have one problem, and that is i cant buy parts online because i dont have a credit card.
suggestions?

Get a debt card and buy them.

newegg happens to be one of the few online retailers that accepts interac, which is what my card uses. ill put a shopping list together tomorrow and post it here, and on reddit probably

Don't want to sound like a broken record, repeating everybody else but yes, i5-2500K will do good for you rig. If you're gonna do gaming, I know the Radeon 7870 is really good performance for the money.

If it's mainly music creation and editing, you want fast connections. USB 3 on board, SATA III 6Gb/s connectors. Good sound card with a lot of connectors is what you'll want. Remember you can always buy an external one later though.

this is what ive got

Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor

Asus P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard

Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory

Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

Asus Radeon HD 7770 2GB Video Card

Asus Xonar DGX 24-bit 96 KHz Sound Card

Rosewill CHALLENGER ATX Mid Tower Case

Apex 500W ATX12V Power Supply

Lite-On IHAS324-98 DVD/CD Writer

Asus VH236H 23.0" Monitor

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)

Carrots_macduff:
this is what ive got

Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor

Asus P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard

Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory

Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

Asus Radeon HD 7770 2GB Video Card

Asus Xonar DGX 24-bit 96 KHz Sound Card

Rosewill CHALLENGER ATX Mid Tower Case

Apex 500W ATX12V Power Supply

Lite-On IHAS324-98 DVD/CD Writer

Asus VH236H 23.0" Monitor

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)

Looks solid to me.

 

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