Okay, so my first move on building a new computer would be to have someone else build it. I mean, that’s like, the American way, right? I put in a couple of memory cards and a new video card into my current PC like a million years ago but that’s the extent of my “building” experience. This assignment actually made me freak a little because when I put my toe into this sea of information it was considerably deeper than I expected. I shall have to come here again when I have my swimmies on…
I checked out several disappointing leads about how to choose the best stuff for a new computer, along with a couple that build them for you, and finally came to this great Build-Gaming-Computers.com. About all I really care to do with computers is to do my email and play my PC games, and I’m really mad that Vista totally blew that away (heh-heh, I said Vista blows…) Anyway, I haven’t played Age of Empires in like 2 years, and my stack of games is so dusty it looks like a dejected little animal sitting on my shelf.
So this site had some serious suggestions for three basic computers to build for the gamer. Being my first PC build, I would go with the “budget” set-up, with a few modifications of my own that may or may not bite me in the butt later on. For example, I think I would forgo the $50 mouse, the $60 keyboard and the $125 speakers, although I haven’t priced many of those recently so that might actually be the bargain.
The author of this article has basically everything you’d want for somewhere around $630, although I’ve been burned on the RAM thing with all my computers so I’m going to upgrade to as much as I can stuff in it, which might be considerably different from the little changes I’d make. I was going to go with Newegg.com for my pieces since I’ve already got an account there, but after checking out this Tigerdirect.com I think I might have to switch. They really do have some awesome deals on components, and a much larger selection than Newegg.
I would go with the ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO USB3 Motherboard, suggested for its popularity with gamers and versatility for the price. To give oomph, I would also add in the suggested AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Quad Core Processor, a lot of words and numbers that I still don’t understand but sound really impressive. From what I’ve checked up on, Intel and AMD seem to be the Coke and Pepsi of the CPU world, at the moment more of a personal preference than a great difference in performance.
For the RAM I would go with the Kingston KHX1600C9D3B1K2/8GX HyperX Blu Desktop Memory Module, which would be twice the memory for just a little twice the price of the suggested 4Gb version, but as I said before, from my experience I believe them when the pros say to get as much RAM as you can afford. When it’s discovered how to add RAM to the brain, I’ll be first in line.
I actually think I have a very similar video card in my existing PC, older though. The EVGA GeForce GTX 550 Ti sounds like it should suit my needs, since my games aren’t hyper-realistic, just colorful. I mean, Age of Empires actually has more complicated character interactions than graphics, and so far that’s the most involved game I’ve gotten. Well, I’m addicted to Fable II now, but that’s a different computer…
The Seagate brand I’ve seen around for a long time, a fairly standard name in hard drives that I believe is proven enough to go for, especially here at TigerDirect for just about $60. The Seagate Barracuda 1TB made me sort of drool a little at the idea of having a whole terrabyte at my command.
I’ve never burned any CDs or DVDs, so I might skip that part, although in the interest of future availability I probably should go ahead and snap a couple in. With that wishy-washy attitude, I would go with the suggested ASUS DRW-24B3ST/BLK/G/AS Internal 24x CD/DVD Drive, since it’s really just about the price of a new pair of sneakers anyway. Well, my sneakers.
I was really zinged with the variety of PC cases out there, and I can see where someone could go completely ape-doo with them; however, since realistically I’ll be staring at my screen and not the tower, I think I’d go with something that really just covers all the parts. The suggested Cooler Master RC-310-RWN1-GP Elite 310 Mid-Tower Case is pretty cool-looking for its $40. Or, I might very well go with my old Dell box and get a good laugh that it would finally be doing something worth its penny.
I admit I hadn’t considered just how much heat these little suckers put off doing all these fancy commands, and that a large number of PCs take up a heck of a lot more energy than most people realize; having been at odds for years with my inner hippie, I like the notion of the “greener” power usage of the Thermaltake W0382RU Modular Power Supply 750 Watts.
Having to look into monitors took me back to the nightmare of picking a new TV; there’s so much to choose from now, like trying to decide on toothpaste, shampoo or deodorant. What I learned about TVs pretty much stands for PC monitors too, since they’re really the same thing; I’m chagrined that I decided not to go with the higher refresh rate on my TV, so I would definitely pick an LCD monitor with the suggested lower-than-8ms response rate. I don’t think I’d have to have a specialty “gaming” monitor or a monster-sized screen though, so the standard 17-inch would suit fine I think.
The Build-Gaming-Computers web site was also very useful for detailing how to best assemble these amazing parts; after running through a few other demonstrations from a few other places, I found this to be a relatively easy way to do it, considering I’ve never built one from scratch.
The build process sounds to me sort of like a kind of mini-engineering feat; it would be entertaining to me to see a documentary on the process that goes into making these features that are basically plug-and-play for the end-user. I’m sure it wasn’t so easy for the people who made them that way.
First step for the build would obviously be to get the motherboard all loaded up, beginning power supply and CPU (with heatsink to keep it all chill); I think if most people knew the brain behind these monsters is about the size of a postage stamp, they might be a little more impressed when updating their Facebook or emailing their vacation pictures across the planet. Based on issues associated with having a house of cats, I think I’d have the fan blowing outward this time, and possibly located at the top of the unit (since heat rises).
Adding the memory cards to the RAM slots should take all of 4 seconds; being not-so-concerned with uber sound, I’d just leave the standard motherboard sound card intact. Of course, I could easily change my mind if I were to experience the real difference for the money…
Installing the hard drive would be so much cooler if I could get one with a clear case like the one I saw on the demo about how they search for tracks. Not like I’d be able to see it of course, but it’d still the “ooo!” factor at work when I hear it doing its thing. Another wow factor would be having 2 hard drives, but in the interest of simplicity I’d just set the jumper to Master, slide it into its little shelf, plug up the IDE cable and move on. Hook that sucker up to the power supply and that element’s ready.
A suitable bay for the CD/DVD component is opened, and in keeping with the standard set-up, the unit itself is “slaved” to the hard drive before being set into its bay and screwed into place. Next a free connection from the IDE cable between the motherboard and the hard drive will be connected to the CD/DVD drive, and then the unit is plugged into a 4-pin connector on the PC’s power supply.
Had a bit of a chuckle when reminded of the imperative to keep oneself and one’s tools grounded when working with the graphics card; some part of me wonders if maybe being a little lax about that is what jinxed my current one. After removing the PCI slot cover, the graphics card is coaxed into its slot and screwed into place, then connected to the monitor, where the PC can now be turned on and drivers installed.
Power up, load in Windows 7, and stuff that puppy with data! For me that would include Microsoft Office, Photoshop, NetBeans, DAZ Studio, iTunes, some sort of security/registry clean-up program, and of course my beloved games. After all this, I would dare it to be as rude as my current PC by lazing through log-on, killing itself after every update-induced restart, or being nannied through every single command I give it. Am I the one who started this? Am I sure I want to do this? Am I really sure? Really? Oh, then…am I sure I want to just cancel the command? Really sure? For real?