The PVC PC Hardware Guide

Discussion in 'Technology' started by cmdrmonkey, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. I thought we should start one of these for people looking to get into PC gaming, or wanting to upgrade their existing PC for gaming.

    Spring 2011 Buying Guide

    Best CPUs:
    Budget: Core i5-2500K
    High-End: Core i7-2600K
    -Don't bother with AMD. They haven't produced a decent CPU in years.
    -For CPU cooling I would go with a Zalman CNPS9900 and a tube of Arctic Silver 5

    Budget: Gigabyte P67 UD3
    High-End: Asus Sabertooth P67
    Good Brands: Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, Intel
    -In general, you want a P67 with the B3 revision. These are the reissued, post-recall P67 boards.

    Budget: 4GB DDR3 1600
    High-End: 8GB or more of DDR3 1600
    Good Brands: Corsair, G.Skill, Crucial, Kingston, Mushkin
    Avoid: OCZ, their ram sucks balls, and they're pulling out of the ram market

    Video Cards:
    Under $150: 768mb GTX 460
    Roughly $200: 1GB GTX 460
    $250: GTX 560Ti
    Good Brands: EVGA, Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, XFX, Sapphire, HIS
    -You really shouldn't need anything more than a GTX 560Ti. The GTX 570, 580, and 590 are overkill unless you have a very high resolution display.
    -I'm not a fan of AMD/ATI. I think their drivers suck.

    Hard Drives:
    Western Digital Caviar Black, 500GB or larger
    -Solid State Drives are a poor value at this point and I don't recommend them
    -Seagate has had a huge decline in quality in recent years. Avoid them.

    Power Supplies:
    Antec, Corsair, or Seasonic (most Antecs and Corsairs are just rebadged Seasonics)
    -You want something that's 80 Plus Certified, and 550W at a minimum
    -The amperage on the 12V rail tells you more about the quality of a power supply than wattage.
    -Don't buy no-name Chinese power supplies.

    Budget: Antec 300
    Midrange: Lian Li PC-7B Plus II, Antec 900
    High-End: Corsair 800D

    Optical Drive:
    -Just get a $20 SATA DVD Burner. Blu-Ray drives and burners are still a rip-off, and shouldn't be necessary unless you're going to also use your PC as an HTPC.

    If you spend any more than about $1200 you're doing something wrong and probably wasting your money. NewEgg is easily the best place to buy PC parts in the US. Also, remember to take advantage of their combo deals.
  2. Assembly:

    Step 1 -
    -The only tool you should need is a Phillips head screw driver.
    -Ground yourself on something metal. An anti-static bracelet isn't necessary.

    Step 2 -
    -Install the power supply in the case. If it's modular, this should be pretty easy.
    -Take the Motherboard, CPU, heatsink, and thermal paste out of their packaging.
    -Set the motherboard down on top of the anti-static bag it came in
    -Install the CPU in the socket on the motherboard. There's usually a little lever that locks the CPU into place. There's only one correct orientation for the CPU so don't force anything.
    -Apply thermal paste to the CPU and heatsink according to the directions that came with the thermal paste
    -Install the Heatsink according to the instructions it came with
    -Install the ram. To do this open the clasps on either side of the ram slot, and note the orientation of the pins on the bottom of the ram. Firmly push the ram into the slot and the clasps on either side should close.
    -Install the motherboard in the case. It just screws in.
    -Install the video card, hard drives, and optical drives. The optical drives and hard drives will have SATA cables that connect to the motherboard.
    -Connect everything to the power supply
    -Connect the wires from the front panel of the case to the motherboard. The motherboard usually comes with a chart that shows the correct pinout for the front panel.

    Step 3 -
    -Plug in the PC and see if it turns on. If not you probably either messed up the pinout for the front panel or you've got a bad power supply.
    -While turning on the PC hit F2 or Delete to go into the BIOs. Just do a once over of the BIOs to make sure that everything is as it should be.
    -Put the windows DVD in the optical drive and reboot the PC.
    -Boot off the disc and follow the on-screen instructions
    -Once Windows is installed run windows update. Also get the latest drivers for your video card from Nvidia or AMD's website.
  3. I will continue to update the guide as new hardware is released. Feel free to ask questions.
  4. you'll need a keyboard, mouse, monitor and most likely os (some folks will most likely have these already... but just in case :x).

    I'm not sure what to say about keyboards. I'd probly get one of those logitech internet kb's. I have no need for a TON of hotkeys. If you plan to use linux or anything other than windows, hotkeys may not work anyway :x.

    For mouse I prefer trackballs :) but that's only because I don't game much (when I do I use a corded x360 controller). For fps and rts games a mouse is probably best (the only advantage for trackballs is a 360 degree range of motion) as it can offer much more buttons. I still think a trackball is more convenient (for leftys and rightys). Get one with a big ball, who says size doesn't matter?? It also gives you a bigger range of motion. My final suggestion though, as an all around player, is a high dpi mouse like the Logitech MX500. Don't settle for less.

    I'm stuck in 24-inch monitor-ville and I suggest you stay there as well, your only question should be do you want one or two?? You also might want to find an 'ips' monitor (will probly cost upwards of 300 bucks) rather than the cheaper tn panel ones (~200 bucks). Honestly your biggest clue will be viewing angles and if that doesn't matter much to you (you don't play many multiplayer game locally... being NOT over the internet or LANs) than I don't see the problem... but hey! I only got one eye -_-. I say stick with 24 inch monitors because 1) that is the sweet spot right now and 2) if you don't play on your couch you end up sitting 3-feet away and anything over 24" will cause your head to turn when looking from side to side. Seriously annoying... and exhausting if you do it long enough. One last thing, go for 120hz another good thing to look for is the rare 16:10 monitor. you won't find many of these unless you step down to 19".

    If you have say a 1080p 40 inch hdtv that you want to use that's cool too! if it's a 720p you may not want to use it... unless your like 60

    OS: many ppl just skip this... mostly cuz their pirates, have access to MSDN or have a copy themselves. But just in case you don't I suggest you find somebody who would burn you a copy :) try to make sure it's legal... like ask around message boards like this one (or before you resort to ebay or craigslist if you need one. Buying an OS for retail is a HUGE waste of money. I really don't suggest you start with Linux unless you did your homework. Many consumer devices don't function right if at all on Linux.

    If you want an optical drive get a blueray READER, the writers are still a TAD overpriced. If you need a backup tool stick with a DVD-writer for a year or two.

    If you want to connect to wireless internet you will probably need a usb wireless internet adapter. Just buy any old one really :| They had started building wireless into your motherboard. Awesome feature! you might want to check if you have this.
  5. Trackballs suck, and yes you do still need an optical drive.

    Another thing I forgot to mention is that I recommend buying a nice case and power supply so that you can reuse them for later builds.

    Don't worry about not having an overall warranty. Each part you buy will have its own warranty that's between 3 and 5 years.
  6. lol ok I'll take the 'you don't NEED an optical drive' part out. But I insist on the trackball hahah! Someday they will make a really UBER trackball and everybody will want it, you will see :p
  7. Upgrading an existing PC for gaming is as simple in most cases as buying a new video card, and possibly power supply.

    A CPU has to be incredibly weak and old to become an issue for games. You'd have to be running something like a Pentium 4, Pentium D, or Athlon 64 for your CPU to be a problem at this point.
  8. Optical drive can be questionable now assuming how you want to install windows among other things. When purchased my windows 7 from microsoft's site, I chose the digital version. They let you download the iso and offer you a tool to put it on a usb drive.

    Your life may be miserable without an optical drive, but it's certainly possible nowadays with huge usb drives and all sorts of digital games/apps online.

    But with dvd writers going for around $20 online.. why not get one?
  9. Floppy drives are even less. [​IMG]

    fixed for you - khaid
  10. floppy drives are absolutely worthless... a good boot disk can''t even fit on one nowadays. Yes an optical drive is still relavant... though you don't absolutely NEED one. It would be nice though... if only for driver installs and manuals. Of coarse you won't need it for long :/
  11. You're freaking me out with this new shiz. You on an acid trip?
  12. I disagree. You can make a boot disk with the floppy drive that even a hosed bios could boot from.