Building a PC?

Earthquake

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Not actually sure if this should be here or the Gen, but I guess as it mainly pertains to gaming, here is best.

On to the point, I've been considering a PC to catch up on some gaming and emulation I've missed out on, especially since I recently got a Steam account. Fan stopped working on my laptop so even with basic games, it quickly attempts to set me on fire, so now seems like an opportune time to look into this more seriously.

The main question is, is it possible to build a tower on the cheap, or more precisely, a powerful one? Are they hard to assemble, or could anyone do it?

How much would I be looking at in parts before diminishing returns kicks in over value?

Also, is it possible to use my tv as a monitor, via HD cable, rather than needing a separate monitor? That would be quite handy, as I'm not exactly blessed with space to set up a full PC desk.
 

Ibi Dreams

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I can't comment on what it would cost at all, I've no idea these days, but building a PC is really not hard if you do a bit of research. I built my own PC when I was 14 after reading about a bit and buying the parts from the internet. I don't know if you'd save a lot of money though, that's a question for someone else.

Also you can definitely use your TV as a monitor, my housemate uses his as a TV and monitor interchangeably all the time. Not sure what cable he uses, I think it's just a regular HDMI cable but I could be wrong.
 

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The main question is, is it possible to build a tower on the cheap, or more precisely, a powerful one? Are they hard to assemble, or could anyone do it?

Also, is it possible to use my tv as a monitor, via HD cable, rather than needing a separate monitor? That would be quite handy, as I'm not exactly blessed with space to set up a full PC desk.
Don't know about the first question, but I built my first one last year and it was really easy. There are loads of guides and stuff that will make it really simple for you.

Also, yeah you can, as long as you get a motherboard/graphics card with an HDMI port (I'm sure 99% of them these days have them though).
 

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Drifter

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Price will depend on what type of gamer you are , hardcore or casual.
 

Castia

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Aria PC's in Manchester is good for getting a computer built, they have pre built machines or you can go ahead and and order whatever you want. They're built to perfection, the inside of the PC looks immaculate with all the wires hidden etc. I've bought my last 2 PC's from them and I've never had a single problem and the prices are really competitive imo.

http://www.aria.co.uk/
 

RedMist99

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Aria PC's in Manchester is good for getting a computer built, they have pre built machines or you can go ahead and and order whatever you want. They're built to perfection, the inside of the PC looks immaculate with all the wires hidden etc. I've bought my last 2 PC's from them and I've never had a single problem and the prices are really competitive imo.

http://www.aria.co.uk/
Totally agree with this.

Built a PC two years ago with everything bought from there and they were incredibly helpful and like you say, very competitive
 

Shamwow

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Not actually sure if this should be here or the Gen, but I guess as it mainly pertains to gaming, here is best.

On to the point, I've been considering a PC to catch up on some gaming and emulation I've missed out on, especially since I recently got a Steam account. Fan stopped working on my laptop so even with basic games, it quickly attempts to set me on fire, so now seems like an opportune time to look into this more seriously.

The main question is, is it possible to build a tower on the cheap, or more precisely, a powerful one? Are they hard to assemble, or could anyone do it?

How much would I be looking at in parts before diminishing returns kicks in over value?

Also, is it possible to use my tv as a monitor, via HD cable, rather than needing a separate monitor? That would be quite handy, as I'm not exactly blessed with space to set up a full PC desk.
It's entirely possible to build a PC that will play everything on Steam very cheaply.

Also, building a PC is really easy. Everything pretty just slots in together and all the connections are made so you can't plug something into the wrong place. The only scary bit is putting the CPU into the motherboard (because the new sockets you put them into can be really tight and you feel like you're going to break it).

As others have said you can use your TV as a monitor to save some money.

Here's one you could go for (I did this on Overclockers.co.uk but they aren't the cheapest and would recommend you go with Aria as the others have suggested if they will help you out). This would play any games with decent performance:


It depends on your budget though. I made one just before Christmas for £1000 which has near top of the range components but realistically I'm not really enjoying the games any more than you would on a £500 PC.
 

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Yeah, it's pretty straightforward building a PC but on your first go as long as you've got the time and patience. You know what it's like today, you can get all kinds of tutorials on Youtube for this type of thing.

What I would suggest is not scrimping on the parts too much because the faster they fall behind/become obsolete, the faster you'll be replacing them or struggling for performance. If you give us a budget I'm sure we can whip up several spec builds for you to consider.
 

Castia

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If I was to recommend 2 things to to spend a bit of extra cash on to 'future proof' yourself a bit it would be your Processor and power supply, there's nothing worse than in a couple of years looking at new graphics card upgrade only to see your PSU isn't good enough (yes it can be upgraded later but its a pain in the ass apparently). Go for a 700w PSU and a I5 processor and go from there imo.
 

Shamwow

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I think the future proofing thing is a bit overblown, you can spend £200 on a CPU and it will go out of date at roughly the same rate as a £100 one.

Best thing to do is choose a budget, it's easy to let the cost creep up when you're choosing components.
 

Earthquake

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Cheers everyone, very helpful stuff!

Yeah, it's pretty straightforward building a PC but on your first go as long as you've got the time and patience. You know what it's like today, you can get all kinds of tutorials on Youtube for this type of thing.

What I would suggest is not scrimping on the parts too much because the faster they fall behind/become obsolete, the faster you'll be replacing them or struggling for performance. If you give us a budget I'm sure we can whip up several spec builds for you to consider.
Yeah, I get where you're coming from here. I said cheap, but I was certainly thinking more along the lines of value for money.

I was originally thinking 600-700 euros, so, 550-600 pounds roughly.

I'm in no real rush though as I'm still in the considering stage, so I could spend more if it makes sense to. It's easy to take my time, and put a few notes in a jar each week towards it.
 

Earthquake

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I think the future proofing thing is a bit overblown, you can spend £200 on a CPU and it will go out of date at roughly the same rate as a £100 one.

Best thing to do is choose a budget, it's easy to let the cost creep up when you're choosing components.
That was one thing I worried about, tbh, especially when I don't know so much about the components, I though it might be easy to end up going for all the big names, where I could have got something comparable for less.
 

Shamwow

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I'd go with something like what you said though. Decent 500gb hard drive would take it up to almost exactly £600.

The only thing I'd consider changing is going with AMD instead of Intel. You could get an AMD 8320 processor, which has lower performance than the Intel i5. However the savings would allow you to buy an SSD and trust me, those things make such a huge difference to the day to day running speed of your computer such as being able to boot up in 10 seconds.

Edit: something like this:
 
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walsh

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I'd go with something like what you said though. Decent 500gb hard drive would take it up to almost exactly £600.

The only thing I'd consider changing is going with AMD instead of Intel. You could get an AMD 8320 processor, which has lower performance than the Intel i5. However the savings would allow you to buy an SSD and trust me, those things make such a huge difference to the day to day running speed of your computer such as being able to boot up in 10 seconds.
Definitely, I've got 2 in mine and they're fantastic :devil:

Going for AMD is certainly a viable option and is often the cheaper alternative, I just have zero experience with them myself so wouldn't know where to start really.
 

Shamwow

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How far apart in quality are the AMD and the Intel?
The i5 is a fair bit faster but the graphics card is going to be your bottleneck anyway. I don't think spending more on the CPU will get you extra performance in games unless you also get a faster GPU.

(I've got the i5-4670k myself but it's paired with a GTX 780)
 
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b82REZ

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After years of debating I finally built one last year, and it was one of the best decisions I made. I probably could have done it for about 400-500 but I won an accumulator so pushed the boat out a bit more and got a Blu Ray drive and a new monitor.

I was a bit worried about putting it together but it was really easy (apart from a chassis issue I had with the motherboard, which I had to take to a PC shop for him to solder something). I can see myself building more in the future.

I lucked out getting the graphics card and RAM on sale so that did help bring the cost down and I've had no issue playing games on highest settings (apart from Witcher 2 on ultra).

My advise would be build with the room for expansion in the future, so a motherboard that will support upto 32gig of RAM and room for an extra graphics card incase you decide to crossfire.

Bear in mind you will have to buy Windows. I had nothing but trouble trying to use a cracked copy, so for the £30 or so for an activation key for Windows 7 it's worth it.
 

b82REZ

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How far apart in quality are the AMD and the Intel?
I have an AMD processor and have no complaints.

From the research I did Intels will be better if you plan to stream or record video as you're playing games, but I am a layman still when it comes to PC gaming/building.
 

Earthquake

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After years of debating I finally built one last year, and it was one of the best decisions I made. I probably could have done it for about 400-500 but I won an accumulator so pushed the boat out a bit more and got a Blu Ray drive and a new monitor.

I was a bit worried about putting it together but it was really easy (apart from a chassis issue I had with the motherboard, which I had to take to a PC shop for him to solder something). I can see myself building more in the future.

I lucked out getting the graphics card and RAM on sale so that did help bring the cost down and I've had no issue playing games on highest settings (apart from Witcher 2 on ultra).

My advise would be build with the room for expansion in the future, so a motherboard that will support upto 32gig of RAM and room for an extra graphics card incase you decide to crossfire.

Bear in mind you will have to buy Windows. I had nothing but trouble trying to use a cracked copy, so for the £30 or so for an activation key for Windows 7 it's worth it.
How long did it take you? I see some guys saying it can take days?

Only thing I'd be worried about is that thermal sealer stuff.
 

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How long did it take you? I see some guys saying it can take days?

Only thing I'd be worried about is that thermal sealer stuff.
It shouldn't take you more than an afternoon even reading all the manuals. (When I was a teenager I built computers for a weekend job and after a while could put one together in about 20 minutes if I remember rightly - not counting time to install the software of course.

The heatsink you get with your CPU should have a pre-applied pad of thermal goo which makes things really easy. Doubt you'll have need for anything other than the stock cooler unless you find it's too noisy for you.
 

gasmanc

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Has anyone mention ebuyer yet ? You can actually see profiles of builds that boffins have put together to suit a certain spec.
I put my lads gaming pc together on Christmas morning, took about 3 hours inc adding the operation system.
 

Zak Smith

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So if you chucked around £500 at a PC these days you could get more or less top graphics out of everything currently released?
 

Earthquake

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It shouldn't take you more than an afternoon even reading all the manuals. (When I was a teenager I built computers for a weekend job and after a while could put one together in about 20 minutes if I remember rightly - not counting time to install the software of course.

The heatsink you get with your CPU should have a pre-applied pad of thermal goo which makes things really easy. Doubt you'll have need for anything other than the stock cooler unless you find it's too noisy for you.
That's what I was thinking, a couple of hours.

I doubt noise will bother me, my Xbox 360 sounds like someone is trying to park an aeroplane next to my tv...
Has anyone mention ebuyer yet ? You can actually see profiles of builds that boffins have put together to suit a certain spec.
I put my lads gaming pc together on Christmas morning, took about 3 hours inc adding the operation system.
I thought the operating system would take a few hours on it's own, tbh.
 

gasmanc

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That's what I was thinking, a couple of hours.

I doubt noise will bother me, my Xbox 360 sounds like someone is trying to park an aeroplane next to my tv...

I thought the operating system would take a few hours on it's own, tbh.
It was for a gamer pc so we added a trimmed down version of vista to it, you want all it's thinking saved for in game :)
 

Castia

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Just an heads up Nvidia GTX760+ cards are giving away free copies of Watchdogs so a good deal could be had. the GTX760 is currently £180 but presuming you want Watchdogs anyway it essentially makes it a £130 card.
 

Shamwow

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Just an heads up Nvidia GTX760+ cards are giving away free copies of Watchdogs so a good deal could be had. the GTX760 is currently £180 but presuming you want Watchdogs anyway it essentially makes it a £130 card.
That sounds like a good deal.
 

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Could of probably made a new thread but did a search to try to see if any threads had been made PC wise.

My brothers planning on getting a new PC next month and has asked me to have a look around for him for the best available options. He can probably push to about a grand if need be. Looking for something that's going to do the business gaming wise at the top level and pretty much just be a beast of a machine. I've had a look around and already noted a few but thought I'd ask around just to see if any of you have any recommendations or can point me in any good directions?

Any help would be great.
 

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I'm upgrading soon for the first time in years. I've had the same gaming machine by and large since pre-360/ps3 release (I use that one soley for gaming, it's completely tuned), but I think it's sorely due an upgrade now.


For those who have a budget and can't be arsed to spend big and have any hassle (though I always maintain PC gaming works out cheaper for more power overall) I've just stuck a budget card in a mate's machine, and I have to say that I'm not normally a Radeon man, but for <£100 a 2gb R7 260x card is pretty good and in a reasonable setup should keep tail on the latest consoles for a good few years.
 

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I would wait for Intel next generation processors to come out (Xmas) before investing in new tech.

edit: if can't wait that long, i suggest to get a motherboard that will be compatible with future cpu's... like this one: http://www.gigabyte.com/press-center/news-page.aspx?nid=1283
Unless the new CPU offers something you are going to make use of that is non-existent in the current generation(s) of CPUs, there's no reason to wait for it. The past generations of iX (2XXX > 4XXX) will keep up with games for a forseeable future; unless you are doing heavy duty computing and rendering then it's rather overkill. I was to this date playing on an old i5 540M, which should tell you all you need to know.

I got the SLI version of that motherboard as it offers a lot of bang for the buck (I paid £85 for it). It's a great board and their customer service is great.
 

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After much trial and tribulation, I just finally got my home-built gaming PC rig running.

And then I lost an entire weekend of my life installing mods for Skyrim. Not even playing the damn game, mind. Just preparing to play the game...