Help me build my PC

After decades of console peasantry, I decided to join the glorious PC gaming master race instead of buying a PS4 or Xbone this time around. The thought of having to buy all my games again was enough to convince me this time.

The thing is: I haven’t had a PC for games since the late 90’s and I don’t know anything about them.

I sort of know what I want though and am looking for inputs…didn’t know who to turn to and then I remembered “hey! I’m part of a vibrant game-related community!”… surely some of you know a thing or 2 about building a gaming PC, right ?

Here’s what i’m looking for:

  • I intend to hook it up to my living room TV and mainly play with a controller. Years of habits are hard to change and I was never comfortable with M+K anyway. I’ll probably have a small table for some game that require M+K but otherwise, I’m gonna use a controler 95% of the time. (maybe a steam controller ? I know @Derch has been toying with one lately… anyone else has ? )
  • I’m looking at an entry-level rig, ideally well below the 1000$ mark.
  • Accordingly, I don’t care much about performance: I can totally live with 60FPS and 720P resolution. What I really want is stability: As long as it doesn’t crash or slows to a crawl, i’m happy. I want it to last as long as possible too obviously, but high-end performance is really not a factor.
  • Since it will be in the living room, I’m looking for a small form factor: mini tower or even smaller. And at least decent-looking, but not too flashy. Sober-looking and sleek is what I want (or else the GF is not gonna be happy)
  • I’m already aware that one place where you can’t be a cheapskate is the power supply (and in any case, this is the part of the rig I intend to keep the longest along with the case)
  • Mini ITX preferably or Micro ATX board.
  • I’ve been hearing about the Radeon 480X, supposedly exactly what i’m looking for. Is it worth waiting for its release ?
  • A bit of upgradability would be nice (so I’d rather have all my RAM in a single bar and have room to add more for example).
  • I will also probably use it for Netflix or the equivalent. Probably not a big concern but it doesn’t hurt to mention.

Anybody want to help me pick parts ? :slight_smile:

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I can’t help you with parts (I had a coworker pick my parts), but i can say something here:

Just because you have good performance doesn’t mean games won’t crash for no reason. That’s something you’ll have to deal with on PC that you never had to on consoles are games just not working properly for arbitrary reasons… Like Bioshock 1 for me was a pain to get to work right, or some old games that don’t play nice with modern hardware. It’s a fact of PC gaming, so don’t expect the flawless perfection that PC Master Race people talk about.

Actually, while I’m saying this, I’d recommend you get either Windows 7 or 8.1, because Win 10 still has compatibility issues with lots of games right now, ranging from pretty recent games like Wolfenstein: The New Order to older games like MDK. While with Win 7 the only compatibility issues you’ll have that i know of are Fallout 3 and Saints Row 2. I don’t know if 8.1 has any except for Fallout 3, because that game hates any OS after Vista.

Aside from all that, I can’t wait to finally get to play BL with you once you do build it. ^ ^

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Yes, i’m aware of that. :slight_smile:
What I meant was that reliability was more important to me than performance. So maybe if a particular manufacturer is known for having driver problems or compatibility issues, I would skip even if it otherwise would mean a better bang for my buck.

I disagree because I’ve played System Shock 2 (the old version) on Windows 10 without any issues. I’ve also played the original Mass Effect as well and Morrowind (released way back in 2002). The thing with 32-bit games is to not allow Windows to install them to the Program Files (x86) folder because they won’t have the disk access permissions they need. That and to run them in XP compatibility, but one’s mileage may vary.

Anyway, as for parts, I’d recommend as a starting point:

  1. A good PSU with at least 750 watts, an 80+ gold rating, and modular. It’ll cost more, but the modularity means you can leave out cables you don’t need for better air flow, the rating means it’ll be up at least 95% of the time, if not more, and the high wattage means it should run cooler since it won’t be near capacity as much as a smaller one, like a 500 might be depending on parts.
  2. Go with 16 gigs if you can afford it (2x 8 gigs). Kingston is a good company, as well as Crucial and Corsair. The biggest thing with RAM is to make sure it fits your motherboard.
  3. The i5 Intel series of CPUs are a good place to start as long as you’re looking at the 6500 and above. If you’re not looking to overclock, you don’t need one with a “k” at the end. The “k” means the CPU is unlocked and you can overclock it. No “k” means it’s locked into its set clock speed. If you’re looking to overclock, you’ll need to get an aftermarket CPU cooler because the stock cooler won’t do the job. If not, then the stock is fine.
  4. I’d look at the nVidia 980 line because the new versions are supposed to be coming out soon and they’ll drive the prices of the older generation down. You can also save about $100USD if you go with a 960 instead. My wife uses one and is very happy. I have a 970 and it works well as well.
  5. For motherboards, Gigabyte, ASUS, and MSI are very good manufactures. ASUS is a bit more expensive than the others, so look at the features when you’re deciding what to buy. As with RAM, make sure your mb is compatible with your CPU choice, otherwise you’re in for a real headache.

Maximum PC and PC Gamer tend to run build suggestions, so I would look on their websites as well for the latest information. I generally don’t read much about hardware until it’s time to upgrade. I do know Intel is coming out with a new line soon, so hopefully their previous generations will drop in price. Intel is more expensive than AMD, but they run cooler and faster. I wish AMD would catch up to Intel, but that’s a subject for another thread.

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Ma man, pcs and stuff.

If you use Reddit /r/buildapc is a good place to start.

Does your budget include external equipment like mouse and keyboard?
Will you use Windows?

I’ll throw up a pcpartpicker list in a bit.

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I already have decent keyboard and mouse, but my budget should probably include a controller, Wireless if possible.

Here’s a very rough draft, no OS
You can defenetly cut down the price a lot.

Agian r/buildapc is a good place if you use Reddit.

A Xbone controller plus wireless adapter costs like 80 bucks with Win10 it’s plug and play.

If you aren’t in a hurry you can allways wait and see what Polaris brings to the table.

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I love my steam controller for sure takes a bit to get used to but you can map anything anywhere and you have a ton of customization options, also you can use it as a mouse so you don’t have that painfully slow joystick movement. Its also pretty cheap I think $50.

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makes your pc faster

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I’m a bit confused by that.

I assumed it was the only real choice for gaming.
Are there alternatives ?
(I know that Steam had a gaming OS in the works a while ago for steamboxes, but that seems to have folded)

Yes and no, it’s the best but not the only.
I really just asked so I’d know if I should include the price for a windows key in the pcpartpicker list, those cost a decent amount.

SteamOS is garbage, it made games run worse.

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Ok, that makes sense. How much do those cost ?

Alternatively, could I just get a copy of windows 7 (like…not legit) and benefit from the “free upgrade” to win 10 ?

Another question: instead of one SSD and one HD, could I go with a single hybrid ?
How much storage do I need ? How big are games now ?

A standard Home license cost like 100 bucks.
You can buy them cheap from code sites but I personaly don’t use them.

Win 7 and 10 licenses cost the same, no reason to buy Win 7.

No, I recommend a SSD for OS, and other programs, and HDD for games over a Hybrid.

I have a 500 gb SSD for my games and I haven’t had any problems with storage, it depends on how many games you will have installed at the time.

I’ll throw up another part list tomorrow but now sleep.
Is there a case you specificaly want and do you care about color scheme?

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I wasn’t thinking of buying… with money.
I heard that you could upgrade to a legit version of windows 10 from any version of windows 7… legit or not.

No, but the smaller the better. Ideally it would fit in my TV stand (so maybe roughly PS3-sized or a bit bigger)

Thanks a lot :slight_smile:

Well if you got a 7 license laying around that isnt OEM then go ahead.
It doesn’t work with an unlegit, not right anyway.
Having access to windows updates is important, don’t pirate your OS.

Yea I saw that
The Air 240 I linked is pretty sweet, it’s like a box, or the Node 202 which is basically the size of a console.
There’s also the Node 304 which is another box.

Another thing to you care about how loud/quiet the pc is?

np, I love building computers stuff so it’s my pleasure.


Not really I guess. Though I have a hard time imagining what a truly loud PC would sound like…

The real answer is: I don’t know.
I would have to hear a particular PC with my own ears and someone would have to tell me if that is supposed to be loud or not :stuck_out_tongue:

I had a look at them and the Node 202 is by far my favorite (the shelves on my TV stand are small and neither of the other 2 would fit. ) It needs to have one of its dimensions to be under 8 inches to fit.

Problem with the Node 202 is that it only fit SFX PSUs and they are pretty limited in quality and expensive, plus the Cable management can be a complete nightmare, and you can only use 2.5 drives which roles out standard HDDs.
It’s important you have room for your pc, you don’t want to choke the air flow too mutch.

I’ll throw up a mini itx Node 202 for you.

Mini itx rough draft:
Notes: if you want to upgrade ram in the future you should go with one 8gb stick instead of two 4 gb ones.
I expect that you will use the stock cooler so I didn’t include one, if you want one for better temps + noise one will cost like 40 bucks.
The CPU is locked so no overclocking.
MOBO has wifi as a bonus.
Case doesn’t have any fans included but has spots for fans if you want to add any for better air flow.

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Are there any other cases out there that would still fit on a shelf that has 8 inches of clearance and that would have more room ?

No American, I don’t know inches.

Not saying the Node 202 is a bad case just pointing out its weaknesses.
There are simular chassis but they have the same problems, imo the Node 202 is the best for those cases do to availability.

Do you know anyone that knows how to build pcs?
It’s allways nice to have someone that knows what they are doing ween building your first one, it’s nice to have someone helping you in general.
If not just bing watch a bunch of Youtube videos and dive into it.

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