I could use some PC hardware expertise.

I've been a console gamer since i've started gaming, and i love my 360, but i see this...thing on the horizon. It call itself the xbox one and it offers fairly average games and it keeps doing 180s when someone complains at it.

Basically, i've been scared away from console gaming, and i've decided to move towards PC gaming. I'm looking for general pointers about pc gaming. Should i build my own tower or buy? What sort of components will i need? What sort of speed do i need to maintain a solid online connection? I'm looking for the basics.

Building your own will give you a good understanding of all the hardware and is a lot of fun.

Your starting point should be to research how to assemble everything. This is pretty straight forward. If there are any steps or parts that you notice in the online guides that you have some concerns about or would like to know more about you will find all the information you need online in forums and review sites. Google is the ultimate PC builders' tool.

In terms of parts you will need the following to get started:
CPU
Motherboard
RAM
Graphics card
Hard drive or solid state drive
Power supply unit
Case
Peripherals (keyboard, mouse, monitor, audio.)
DVD drive (not essential)

Never choose parts by the specifications alone. Look at reviews and benchmark results. A 3.4GHz Intel quad-core CPU will outperform a 5.0GHz AMD octo-core by a large margin for example. Not that you would know from looking at the specs.

Sometimes it is worth spending a bit more on some parts where cost cutting is common. It may be tempting to get a really cheap case for your PC but you get what you pay for. A case can and often will be the part you will keep the longest once you catch the upgrade bug. With this in mind it makes sense to get something with a bit of effort put into the build quality. The peripherals are just as important as the internals. They are how you interface with your PC every time you use it so they should be a joy to use and not the bare minimum.

A good place for discussion with people that know what they are talking about is the PC Builders and Hardware Group chat board. Everyone there is enthusiastic, helpful and not averse to helping new people with their first system.

Da pyro man 999:
I've been a console gamer since i've started gaming, and i love my 360, but i see this...thing on the horizon. It call itself the xbox one and it offers fairly average games and it keeps doing 180s when someone complains at it.

Basically, i've been scared away from console gaming, and i've decided to move towards PC gaming. I'm looking for general pointers about pc gaming. Should i build my own tower or buy? What sort of components will i need? What sort of speed do i need to maintain a solid online connection? I'm looking for the basics.

I'd say build your own. It'll probably be cheaper than a prebuild, you can tailor it to your needs, and it's a great learning experience.
I nearly didn't because I was worried it would be too complicated, but I'm really glad I did. The actual building is usually pretty simple, and it gives you such an insight into how the big mysterious box actually works.

EDIT: removing list of components because covered by above post

http://www.logicalincrements.com/

This site is probably the best for working out rough budgets, as well as telling you what core components you need. Note you can can adjust by country on the top right.

I'd recommend having a look at that and elsewhere, coming up with a hypothetical build, and then coming back here (and maybe also going to some tech related forums like Tom's Hardware or various overclocking forums) to see what people think.
Chances are the first list of components you come back with will get ripped up because of better suggestions, but don't worry about it. I went through about 20 different hypothetical configurations before I got one that was ideal - though that might partly be because I'm absurdly cautious about spending money.

Anyway, it's the deciding on components that's the hard part, actually building it and installing an OS is usually relatively straightforward.
As for internet connection, it really does vary. In the UK I've had solid gaming on a 5mb connection, but I'd recommend >10mb if you can get it without breaking the bank.
If you're going to be online gaming a lot, I'd advise getting a package with no upload or download limit.

If you've got any specific questions, feel free to ask!

SpAc3man:
Building your own will give you a good understanding of all the hardware and is a lot of fun.

Your starting point should be to research how to assemble everything. This is pretty straight forward. If there are any steps or parts that you notice in the online guides that you have some concerns about or would like to know more about you will find all the information you need online in forums and review sites. Google is the ultimate PC builders' tool.

In terms of parts you will need the following to get started:
CPU
Motherboard
RAM
Graphics card
Hard drive or solid state drive
Power supply unit
Case
Peripherals (keyboard, mouse, monitor, audio.)
DVD drive (not essential)

Never choose parts by the specifications alone. Look at reviews and benchmark results. A 3.4GHz Intel quad-core CPU will outperform a 5.0GHz AMD octo-core by a large margin for example. Not that you would know from looking at the specs.

Sometimes it is worth spending a bit more on some parts where cost cutting is common. It may be tempting to get a really cheap case for your PC but you get what you pay for. A case can and often will be the part you will keep the longest once you catch the upgrade bug. With this in mind it makes sense to get something with a bit of effort put into the build quality. The peripherals are just as important as the internals. They are how you interface with your PC every time you use it so they should be a joy to use and not the bare minimum.

A good place for discussion with people that know what they are talking about is the PC Builders and Hardware Group chat board. Everyone there is enthusiastic, helpful and not averse to helping new people with their first system.

I would say a dvd drive is essential because its the easiest way to install an O/S. There are other ways but those requires more technical knowledge and equipment.

Video guides such as this make things very easy for newbies, If you don't want to be bothered with building your own system finding a shop which sells custom PCs with the hardware of your choosing is important too. I personally use pcpartpicker when coming up with a new build for convenience's sake.This thread is worth taking a look at as it covers the basics. Of course you can depend on the advice forum for anything hardware related.

I've always rolled my own and I'd suggest you do the same, but....there's a lot of talk about the global slow-down of pc sales (due to tablets, Windows 8 or whatever), and you may be able to pick up a real bargain from a retailer looking to clear out some stock.

albino boo:

I would say a dvd drive is essential because its the easiest way to install an O/S. There are other ways but those requires more technical knowledge and equipment.

A flash drive is quicker and cheaper therefore a DVD drive is not essential.

SpAc3man:

albino boo:

I would say a dvd drive is essential because its the easiest way to install an O/S. There are other ways but those requires more technical knowledge and equipment.

A flash drive is quicker and cheaper therefore a DVD drive is not essential.

Please tell me where you can buy a flash drive with windows on it? You know, the most commonly used operating system in the world. To someone with no expertise, the simplest approach to installing an operating system on gaming PC is to use a windows DVD.

SpAc3man:

albino boo:

I would say a dvd drive is essential because its the easiest way to install an O/S. There are other ways but those requires more technical knowledge and equipment.

A flash drive is quicker and cheaper therefore a DVD drive is not essential.

As much as we'd like to, DVDs are not completely phased out. Installing an OS with a flash drive is pretty hard if you don't know what you're doing. Other than that DVD drives are useful for installing games (duh), possible work or school related projects, movies and music CDs. I think they are essential.

AWAR:

SpAc3man:

albino boo:

I would say a dvd drive is essential because its the easiest way to install an O/S. There are other ways but those requires more technical knowledge and equipment.

A flash drive is quicker and cheaper therefore a DVD drive is not essential.

As much as we'd like to, DVDs are not completely phased out. Installing an OS with a flash drive is pretty hard if you don't know what you're doing. Other than that DVD drives are useful for installing games (duh), possible work or school related projects, movies and music CDs. I think they are essential.

Plus, a decent one will cost you maybe 20 bucks. They may not be strictly necessary, but there really isn't a good reason to not get one.

albino boo:

Please tell me where you can buy a flash drive with windows on it? You know, the most commonly used operating system in the world. To someone with no expertise, the simplest approach to installing an operating system on gaming PC is to use a windows DVD.

Microsoft have an idiot proof application to create a bootable flash drive using the disk images they provide for download on their website. Past that the process is exactly the same as installing from DVD. You just select USB device from the boot menu instead of CD/DVD drive.

AWAR:
As much as we'd like to, DVDs are not completely phased out. Installing an OS with a flash drive is pretty hard if you don't know what you're doing. Other than that DVD drives are useful for installing games (duh), possible work or school related projects, movies and music CDs. I think they are essential.

Useful. Not essential. The last time I used my DVD drive was to install BF3 when it was released nearly two years ago and that was only because the Origin download servers were a bit slow.

My recommended hardware list was for parts that are essential to put together a gaming PC. Not a PC to cover all possible situations. If it was a media centre PC I would have listed a BluRay drive. Apart from music and movies I would say the solutions provided by digital distribution services and the cloud are far superior. Hell I don't even use USB drives for anything other than installing operating systems these days.

SpAc3man:

albino boo:

Please tell me where you can buy a flash drive with windows on it? You know, the most commonly used operating system in the world. To someone with no expertise, the simplest approach to installing an operating system on gaming PC is to use a windows DVD.

Microsoft have an idiot proof application to create a bootable flash drive using the disk images they provide for download on their website. Past that the process is exactly the same as installing from DVD. You just select USB device from the boot menu instead of CD/DVD drive.

You assume that the op has a PC to download it on. A DVD drive cost 20 takes pericelsy 2 cables and then press the open button and close button and then let the machine install. Installing from a flash drive requires access to another PC for downloading on the flash drive, changing the bios options to boot from usb, then installing and then changing bios back to boot from the right hard drive. Using a dvd drive is simpler, requires less technical knowledge and is only 10 more expensive. Its a lot of buggering about for saving of 10. Last point, installing from a flash drive is slower than using pxe boot iso image of windows 7 and requires about the same level of technical knowledge.

SpAc3man:
[quote="albino boo" post="538.826203.20066515"]

My recommended hardware list was for parts that are essential to put together a gaming PC. Not a PC to cover all possible situations. If it was a media centre PC I would have listed a BluRay drive. Apart from music and movies I would say the solutions provided by digital distribution services and the cloud are far superior. Hell I don't even use USB drives for anything other than installing operating systems these days.

There's absolutely no reason for not having a DVD drive. Yeah, you may rarely use it but imagine it not being there when you need it, then what? The amount of money you save is just miniscule. Other that that, not everyone has cloud service and netflix so what about media and games from "the before times" that are on CDs and DVDs?
The notion of a "gaming pc" is faulty too. By definition a PC covers all fields, especially if its made for gaming in mind. It also goes without saying that most people use the same machine to game, work or watch movies on.

I have a DVD drive, but I leave it unplugged most of the time because I don't like it making noises upon startup/etc. When I need it I simply reboot and plug it in :D

More to topic, it's best to build on your own (you can hunt-down the best deals and assembling is fun). BUT in case you are simply scared as hell of touching expensive tech, I know quite a few people are, sites like NCIX and CyberPower offer building services + warranty for a relatively cheap price if you order everything from them.

Once you've outlined a budget, you should be able to get an easy recommendation for parts in any community/group that keeps up with tech and knows how to suggest well-balanced builds.

You most likely won't even have a budget at this point since you don't how much typical parts/etc cost.

Budget-friendly build that will run most games at medium settings:

MoBo: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP - $74.99
CPU: Intel i3 3220 - $129.99
RAM: Crucial 1600MHz 8GB - $49.99
GPU: Gigabyte GTX 650 Ti - $129.99
HDD: WD Caviar Blue 500GB - $59.99
PSU: Antec VP-450W - $39.99
Case: Xigmatek Asgard - $34.99
Optical: Asus DRW-24B1ST - $19.99
Estimated Total Price - $540

Going all the way to a well-rounded beast that will eat through almost any game at high/max settings (absolutely destroying next-gen consoles), not to mention the PC itself will be snappy-fast due to the SSD:

MoBo: MSI Z77A-G43 - $109.99
CPU: Intel i5 3570k - $219.99
RAM: G.Skill Ares 1600Mhz 2x4GB - $64.99
GPU: Gigabyte HD7970 Ghz Edition - $359.99
SSD: Samsung 840 120GB - $99.99
HDD: WD Caviar Blue 1TB - $69.99
PSU: Corsair CX600M - $59.99
Heatsink: Phanteks PH-TC12DX - $59.99
Case: Fractal Arc Midi - $109.99
Optical: Asus DRW-24B1ST - $19.99
Estimated Total Price - $1175

(They do get a lot more powerful than that mind you, just examples :P)

 

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