Building a Computer

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Alexa9
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Building a Computer

Post by Alexa9 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:07 pm

I've looked at PCPartPicker for building a computer mostly for home theater/music/possibly some gaming.
Looking at
Intel Kaby Lake i5 for 4k Output at 60hz
250 GB SSD + 2 TB 7200RPM HD
2x8 GB RAM
Blu Ray
HDMI output
Decent Graphics Card?
Any suggestions? Never done this before. I thought it would be a fun project and save some money over time with it being easy to upgrade in the future hopefully.

TomCat96
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by TomCat96 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:25 pm

Alexa9 wrote:I've looked at PCPartPicker for building a computer mostly for home theater/music/possibly some gaming.
Looking at
Intel Kaby Lake i5 for 4k Output at 60hz
250 GB SSD + 2 TB 7200RPM HD
2x8 GB RAM
Blu Ray
HDMI output
Decent Graphics Card?
Any suggestions? Never done this before. I thought it would be a fun project and save some money over time with it being easy to upgrade in the future hopefully.

It's been 20 years since the last time I built a PC. I haven't kept up with the current hardware, but if its your first time some tips that helped me were:

1. Make sure you stay grounded while you build it. Some use bracelets. I just let my arms touch the metal casing as I'm fiddling around.
2. Make sure your power supply can support all your devices. You haven't specified a graphics card, but the rest of your devices wont draw much power.
3. Make sure the motherboard is not being grounded.

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Fudgie
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by Fudgie » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:33 pm

:oops:
Last edited by Fudgie on Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
"That's entertainment!" - Vlad the Impaler

Nekrotok
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by Nekrotok » Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:13 pm

do you live near a microcenter? they have cpu/mobo combos that are a great deal.

mhalley
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by mhalley » Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:24 pm

You might check out toms for some recommended builds.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/bes ... 90.html#p1

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Just sayin...
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by Just sayin... » Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:30 pm

Now you're in my wheelhouse. I just finished this build:

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/H7K9Fd

Almost dead silent, powerful, does everything I want. I built it myself because I couldn't find exactly what I wanted in an off-the-shelf system and I tend to keep my systems for 5-7 years. I am very happy with this system and don't (yet) feel the need to overclock. Plus, it was really fun (for me) to put it all together. :sharebeer

A few more things: My go-to site for power supply reviews: http://www.jonnyguru.com/
My favorite site for motherboard reviews: http://www.tweaktown.com/news/index.html
Good processor review: http://www.anandtech.com/show/10968/the ... e-champion

Hth...
Last edited by Just sayin... on Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PFInterest
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by PFInterest » Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:35 pm

Depends what you mean by gaming.
1050 or 470 for low end, you might only need an i3.
For more mainstream AAA 1060 or 480, def i5.

mattshwink
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by mattshwink » Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:37 pm

What resolution is your display? That drives the question on the graphics card.

The i5-7500 is a great CPU for ~$200.
The MSI B250M Pro-VD is great no-frills but still great motherboard for ~$65
I'd go with 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-2400 ($100)

If you are set on a 250GB SSD I like the Samsung 850 EVO 250GB ($100).
But I think getting as much of your storage on SSD will really help things feel snappier. Photos and videos on mechanical storage, but OS and programs on the SSD. The Samsung 850 EVO 500GB is ~$185.

Also, do not skimp on the power supply. It will depend on the graphics card choose, but either a Corsair CX450M ($50) or Seasonic SSR-550RM ($70)

tigermilk
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by tigermilk » Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:41 pm

Just sayin... wrote:Now you're in my wheelhouse. I just finished this build:

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/H7K9Fd

Almost dead silent, powerful, does everything I want. I built it myself because I couldn't find exactly what I wanted in an off-the-shelf system and I tend to keep my systems for 5-7 years. I am very happy with this system and don't (yet) feel the need to overclock. Plus, it was really fun (for me) to put it all together. :sharebeer

A few more things: My go-to site for power supply reviews: http://www.jonnyguru.com/
My favorite site for motherboard reviews: http://www.tweaktown.com/news/index.html
Good processor review: http://www.anandtech.com/show/10968/the ... e-champion

Hth...
Nice build. Build it with 64gb RAM and it would be a great machine for my engineering work. Would love one of those Intel PCI-E SSDs for my file I/O heavy analysis software

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whodidntante
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by whodidntante » Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:41 pm

Go for quality for the case and PSU. And note that quality doesn't mean buying a PSU with a high power rating. Mid tier seasonic is a decent choice. Find a case on the large side that has good airflow, tool less instation, and filters you can clean. If you buy any fans, opt for ball bearing fans that are reasonably quiet.

If you are a serious gamer or a graphics professional, choice of video card is critical. You will build the rest of the system to support that.

I would buy a 1tb SSD and forget the spinning disk unless you need the space. Unfortunately I need the space and have two 4 TB disks to supplement my SSD.

I would buy the essential components (as defined by you) right away, and look for bargains on the ancillary components.

Buy decent stuff, but nothing you aren't willing to throw away and replace. You do not want to deal with technical support for these companies.

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Just sayin...
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by Just sayin... » Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:46 pm

tigermilk wrote:Nice build. Build it with 64gb RAM and it would be a great machine for my engineering work. Would love one of those Intel PCI-E SSDs for my file I/O heavy analysis software
Thanks. I almost went with 64GB, but still have 2 open slots...just in case. So far, haven't gotten more than 20-20GB RAM used. BTW, that 750 PCIe NVMe SSD is perfect for my Photoshop/Lightroom work!

Here's a link to a pic of the finished build: https://goo.gl/photos/QYbRKD5wXoeX5Yrx8

Can't get CPU over 40C or graphics card over 65C no matter what I throw at it.

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oneleaf
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by oneleaf » Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:37 am

Here's a few tips I can offer based on my personal preferences of doing low power and quiet systems.

For the past few generations, Intel integrated graphics have been excellent for home theater and general usage. Kaby Lake processors can handle 4K output no problem now, even on their lower end processors. And all the motherboards have HDMI output now. If you are not sure if you want to do any gaming, I say skip the video card and see how you get by on integrated graphics first. I have even done some gaming on older generation Intel's integrated graphics, and had reasonable experience.

Generally, an i5–7500 with an H270 chipset mobo is a very solid choice. But Kaby Lake actually shines on their lower end offerings. For instance the $65 Pentium G4560 is pretty much as good as an i3 processor now with a much cheaper pricetag. You can actually do gaming on one of these when paired with a decent graphics card. And even without a graphics card, the Pentium can do 4K video now. However, I still think the i5 is the most solid choice, but I wanted to throw this out there because there is some tremendous value in the lower end processors now.

I agree with the others to get a high-quality power supply. For me, without a graphics card, I have been able to stay with high quality brands like Seasonic, but with a lower price point due to the lower capacity. For instance, my current build uses Seasonic SSR–350ST, which is only 350W but has more than enough to handle my Skylake rig.

Consider a 5400 RPM hard drive for media storage. Having your operating system on the SSD is absolutely crucial these days, but you can go with the slower drive for media, save a few bucks, use less wattage, and be cooler and quieter too. For the SSD, the Samsung 850 EVO are still a great choice. I would recommend 250GB min and 500 GB preferred for the SSD if you are using Windows.

For RAM, I have been using the basic Crucial sticks with no heat spreader for my last few builds. Heat spreaders are totally not necessary and not worth the extra bucks. I have also had great luck with G.Skill and Mushkin memory.

For cases, the Corsair Obsidian 350D and Fractal Design Define Mini are both solid choices for microATX builds. Mini-ITX is smaller and worth looking into, as well.

I have found the Coolermaster Hyper212 to be a decent aftermarket cooler. I know it is totally unnecessary if you're not overclocking. But I do like using them because it is quieter and lowers CPU temperatures by a bit. The Noctua brand ones are even better, and are so much easier to mount than any other cooler, but they really are expensive. That said, I tend to save money on building lower power builds, but I do like to splurge a bit on fans and cases.

alshayed
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by alshayed » Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:54 am

I like to use Tech Report as a starting guide - see their system guide at https://techreport.com/review/31389/sys ... de-current.

Note you will probably not save money, but certainly it can be satisfying and lets you be really specific about what you want.

jcchen
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by jcchen » Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:14 pm

The advantage of building your own is longer warranty (3 yr vs 1 yr) and quality parts. and you can customize the PC to your wants. Eg, you can get a very quiet PC.

But building your own PC will cost more today. I dont think it will save any money even over the long run either. Technology changes v fast. In 5 years, we might have even faster versions of sata or usb or ddr5, so you might NOT want to reuse your old components.

I recently did a hybrid approach, purchasing a desktop with a decent graphics card on sale (see slickdeals.net or techbargains.com). Many desktops dont have blurays nor ssd. So, plan on swapping internal dvd for a bluray. And move the win os from hard drive to ssd, and use the hard drive for extra storage.

LiterallyIronic
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by LiterallyIronic » Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:29 pm

jcchen wrote:But building your own PC will cost more today. I dont think it will save any money even over the long run either.
If you're going low end, sure. But the higher end you go, the more you save by building over buying.

OP: You didn't specify which CPU exactly, but I always recommend i7, even though you could probably get away with i5 just fine in most situations.

You've got 16GB RAM, and I wouldn't go any lower than that these day (though 8GB is still the "standard" amount), for future proofing. Technically, I wouldn't go lower than 12GB, but pretty much nobody buys anything but 2^N. Don't go with the slowest speed RAM, either. I would only trust Crucial, Corsair, or Kingston brands.

SSD for your OS is super awesome. Strongly, strongly recommended. I know someone said you could use a 5400RPM HDD for your other drive, but I could never recommend going below 7200. You're not going to have all your games installed on your SSD, so the 7200 would decrease game loading times. I would trust Seagate and Western Digital brands for your HDD.

For the graphics card, I always stick with the Nvidia line. You don't specify what kind of gaming you'd be doing, but since you said, "possibly some gaming," I would presume that a GTX 1060 would do the trick for you. I would trust EVGA brand the most, followed by XFX and Gigabyte.

As for the power supply, it's not just about the wattage, but also I would recommend it be at the "Gold" quality level. Semi-modular is also nice. Don't cheap out on some rock-bottom power supply.

As for the case, I always go rock-bottom with the case. As long as it can take an ATX motherboard, has enough internal slots for my drives, and has a couple of external USB ports on the front, I'm good to go. It's just a box to hold the real parts.

You could post your link from PCPartPicker for further information. Or, for a forum that specializes in this, check out reddit.com/r/buildapc.

I built my current machine in August of last year:

i7 6700k
32GB DDR4-3200
GTX 1080
256GB SSD
6TB HDD
850watt PSU
Blu ray

~$1,900.

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Ged
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by Ged » Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:55 pm

Alexa9 wrote:I thought it would be a fun project and save some money over time with it being easy to upgrade in the future hopefully.
I have always had a custom built PC. Going back to the 1980's when I had a 80286 running MS-DOS and 2 full height 5 1/4" hard drives.

Off the shelf systems are often intentionally crippled with barely adequate power supplies in weird configurations and with motherboards designed to be difficult to reconfigure or upgrade in order to force a new machine when technology changes. And that's not even counting Apple who has been known to do things like solder memory to their motherboards or place memory on the underside of their motherboards.

This is definitely a fun project and over time you will save money because such a system will be easier to upgrade, and you'll know much better what to do if something goes wrong. The initial cost will be higher though.

If it's your first custom built system I'd advise having an experienced friend in the loop. There are a few critical steps in the assembly that if done wrong can cause problems. YouTube has a lot of helpful videos but some of them show procedures done sloppily. If you are going to rely on YouTube check the comments on the videos before following the procedure shown. YouTube videos published by the component manufacturer or a well known site are usually ok. Also reading the instructions helps a lot! The motherboard manual in particular.

PC Parts Picker is a good start but they only cover a subset of vendors and what is available. I spend time on enthusiast review sites, forums and searching Amazon and similar sites for components as well.

Smorgasbord
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by Smorgasbord » Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:09 pm

Rather than build it yourself, you might find it better to find used computer that was a top-of-the-line gaming computer 2 years ago, and then tweak it to your intended use. For example, when I was putting together a system for game emulation (need a crazy fast CPU) and home theater (HDMI) I ended up buying someone's 2 year old system, selling the high end graphics card, and putting in a low end one with an HDMI output.

quantAndHold
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by quantAndHold » Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:43 pm

The last time I built a computer, about four years ago, I went to https://www.pugetsystems.com, got the specs of the one they were selling that was closest to what I needed, and bought the exact same components they used. I figured they knew more about mixing and matching components than I did. It went together easily and I saved about 30% off of what it would have cost to get a prebuilt system with similar specs.

I'm still using that desktop. The only problem I've ever had was a fan that had to be replaced last month.

amd2135
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by amd2135 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:48 am

Smorgasbord wrote:Rather than build it yourself, you might find it better to find used computer that was a top-of-the-line gaming computer 2 years ago, and then tweak it to your intended use. For example, when I was putting together a system for game emulation (need a crazy fast CPU) and home theater (HDMI) I ended up buying someone's 2 year old system, selling the high end graphics card, and putting in a low end one with an HDMI output.
Even a 5 year old machine could work fine. My Core i5-2500k machine now has a GTX 1060. Modern games run great and I have no complaints about performance otherwise. I have the cash to upgrade but see no reason to do so.

It's overclocked- CPU to 4.6GHz, RAM to 1867MHz. At stock speeds I'd probably feel the age of this machine a bit more.

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oneleaf
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by oneleaf » Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:49 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote: OP: You didn't specify which CPU exactly, but I always recommend i7, even though you could probably get away with i5 just fine in most situations.
I personally think i7's need to be justified only for very specific use cases. People that do a lot of video editing or rendering or encoding. Or 3D CAD workstations. Otherwise, I think value shoppers should go for the G4560, most folks should go with the i5-7500, and power users (including serious gamers) have little reason to go for more than an i5-7600k (with a Z270 motherboard).

Cost/performance simply doesn't justify i7 for the VAST majority of users. There used to be a consensus to get the most powerful computer from a future-proofing perspective, but that idea has made little sense for a very long time. Medium-grade components always gets the best bang-for-the-buck and with Kaby Lake, the budget CPU's are starting to become very default choices for those that only want to do basic office work and media.

LiterallyIronic
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by LiterallyIronic » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:32 am

oneleaf wrote:
LiterallyIronic wrote: OP: You didn't specify which CPU exactly, but I always recommend i7, even though you could probably get away with i5 just fine in most situations.
I personally think i7's need to be justified only for very specific use cases. People that do a lot of video editing or rendering or encoding. Or 3D CAD workstations. Otherwise, I think value shoppers should go for the G4560, most folks should go with the i5-7500, and power users (including serious gamers) have little reason to go for more than an i5-7600k (with a Z270 motherboard).

Cost/performance simply doesn't justify i7 for the VAST majority of users. There used to be a consensus to get the most powerful computer from a future-proofing perspective, but that idea has made little sense for a very long time. Medium-grade components always gets the best bang-for-the-buck and with Kaby Lake, the budget CPU's are starting to become very default choices for those that only want to do basic office work and media.
For me, I'm not interested in cost/performance or "bang-for-the-buck." I'm only interested in "bang." I've used an i7 since 2010 (the i7 930, and now run the i7 6700k). Kaby Lake wasn't released yet when I made my purchase, but I also wasn't interested in waiting because of the announcement that only Windows 10 would be supported, in terms of drivers, on Kaby Lake. I run Windows 7 instead of 10 for various reasons, so I stuck with Skylake. Do I need a 6700k? Nah. I don't do any video editing or anything but gaming. I also don't need 32GB of RAM, a GTX 1080, 6TB of storage space, or a Blu-ray drive. I even have more RAM slots available so I can go to 64GB if I want in the future, and an available slot for SLI if I want a second 1080. I always go top-of-the-line and leave myself room for improvement. Maybe you've done away with "future proofing," but I haven't.

My computer is the most expensive item I own - cost more than my car. Hence, I only suggest high end parts. Everywhere else, I'm frugal as all get out. I mean, our grocery budget is $160/month for two people. But for electronics? Only the best.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by Epsilon Delta » Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:35 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:For me, I'm not interested in cost/performance or "bang-for-the-buck." I'm only interested in "bang."
If that were true you'd own some of these:

Image

We are all resource constrained. In my business life I've had quite a few people who insisted they needed to pay big bucks for high end processors or such until I located bottlenecks and spent much less on RAM or ethernet cables or graphic cards or offloaded stuff to relatively cheap servers.

inbox788
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by inbox788 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:19 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:My computer is the most expensive item I own - cost more than my car. Hence, I only suggest high end parts. Everywhere else, I'm frugal as all get out. I mean, our grocery budget is $160/month for two people. But for electronics? Only the best.
Why?

How much does your computer cost? And you car?

Is your computer your livelihood or a hobby?

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oneleaf
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by oneleaf » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:39 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote: For me, I'm not interested in cost/performance or "bang-for-the-buck." I'm only interested in "bang." I've used an i7 since 2010 (the i7 930, and now run the i7 6700k). Kaby Lake wasn't released yet when I made my purchase, but I also wasn't interested in waiting because of the announcement that only Windows 10 would be supported, in terms of drivers, on Kaby Lake. I run Windows 7 instead of 10 for various reasons, so I stuck with Skylake. Do I need a 6700k? Nah. I don't do any video editing or anything but gaming. I also don't need 32GB of RAM, a GTX 1080, 6TB of storage space, or a Blu-ray drive. I even have more RAM slots available so I can go to 64GB if I want in the future, and an available slot for SLI if I want a second 1080. I always go top-of-the-line and leave myself room for improvement. Maybe you've done away with "future proofing," but I haven't.

My computer is the most expensive item I own - cost more than my car. Hence, I only suggest high end parts. Everywhere else, I'm frugal as all get out. I mean, our grocery budget is $160/month for two people. But for electronics? Only the best.
That's fine if you want to spend the money. But always recommending an i7 is like a car enthusiast always recommending a Ferrari to average folks.

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T-Wrench
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by T-Wrench » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:54 pm

inbox788 wrote:
LiterallyIronic wrote:My computer is the most expensive item I own - cost more than my car. Hence, I only suggest high end parts. Everywhere else, I'm frugal as all get out. I mean, our grocery budget is $160/month for two people. But for electronics? Only the best.
Why?

How much does your computer cost? And you car?

Is your computer your livelihood or a hobby?
Seconded. I build all of my computers for $700 about every 5 years (Newegg is my friend). What are you using this for that it costs more than your car? Or is your car that cheap?

sco
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by sco » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:34 am

About every 5 years mine needs something. Last time (3 years ago), it was a $120 Solid State Drive and $120 worth of RAM. Those two items and I easily got 5 years out of it.

What will upgraded next? Not sure, probably in a few years something simple like the case/power supply, motherboard and a new chip. Although this cpu is plenty fast now..

LiterallyIronic
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by LiterallyIronic » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:57 am

inbox788 wrote: Why?

How much does your computer cost? And you car?

Is your computer your livelihood or a hobby?
T-Wrench wrote:Seconded. I build all of my computers for $700 about every 5 years (Newegg is my friend). What are you using this for that it costs more than your car? Or is your car that cheap?
Computer was $1,967.52, all parts purchased from Newegg. That does not include the operating system (still running Windows 7), dual monitors, 5.1 surround sound speakers, battery backup unit, keyboard, or printer (but does include the mouse). Car was under $1,000.

It's definitely not my livelihood; I don't use it for any money-making purposes. I play video games on it, surf the Internet, and do some coding for fun. But I spend more time sitting at it than I do sitting in my car.
oneleaf wrote:That's fine if you want to spend the money. But always recommending an i7 is like a car enthusiast always recommending a Ferrari to average folks.
If you ask for car purchasing advice from a car enthusiast, you'll probably get enthusiast-level advice. If you ask for computer purchasing advice from a computer enthusiast, you'll probably get enthusiast-level advice.

inbox788
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by inbox788 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:07 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:Computer was $1,967.52, all parts purchased from Newegg. That does not include the operating system (still running Windows 7), dual monitors, 5.1 surround sound speakers, battery backup unit, keyboard, or printer (but does include the mouse). Car was under $1,000.

It's definitely not my livelihood; I don't use it for any money-making purposes. I play video games on it, surf the Internet, and do some coding for fun. But I spend more time sitting at it than I do sitting in my car.
...
If you ask for car purchasing advice from a car enthusiast, you'll probably get enthusiast-level advice. If you ask for computer purchasing advice from a computer enthusiast, you'll probably get enthusiast-level advice.
Enthusiast? No. Fanatic! :D

Which cost more, your graphics car or you car? :shock:

Time spent using it is one way to justify an expense. That's what the mattress/bed companies like to sell. I guess if you break it down per hour of use, the cost might be a quarter per hour for any one of them (computer, car, bed, cell phone, etc.).

We've been spoiled by the cheap computer prices. There was a time when $2k or more was the average price of a Windows computer and todays computers are way faster, easier to use and do so much more.

http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/co ... -to-1995s/

Thanks for reminding us that if you still use a desktop computer, it's a good idea to spend a little more.

Duplexdude
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Re: Building a Computer

Post by Duplexdude » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:28 pm

Not sure if this will help much with OP main question but this did get me thinking a lot about Computers Economics...

The cost of PCs have dropped so much A lot of that has to do with everything going to the cloud or on peoples cell phones, Moores Law etc...
I always wanted to build a nice new PC but the amount of money and work I would have to put into was not worth it. I buy all my PCs from a small refurbisher of corporate PCs most of mine run Linux & I pay $100 cash for them. my newest runs Windows 10 that OS was such a flop that I was able to get PC/w an OS all for $100 as well. New retail price would have been around $1500+, the Laptop has 4GB of RAM and a 160GB HDD hard drive. that is my main PC which I do spend hours on but I don't really game.

When I was in high school I got a lot of people to give me their old PCs if I would remove them from their house a select few I would offer $5-10 for the PC. I was also friends with a lady who owned a PC shop and she only sold new PCs she would almost give away some of the old PCs to me. I was able to take them apart try to rebuilt them I put Linux on a few of them, that would have Firefox ABIword and most standard Apps.

I felt that this was kind of like the tech circle of life since most people were willing to give away their old PCs for my education I would intern be willing to give away the repaired/refurbished PC to enrich someone else's life :D
I was able to scrap out the really bad ones and made some money that way. I felt that I learned a ton of stuff by really having that hands on experience. That later was really helpful in me getting into the IT/Telecom Field at 19 years old, I'm still in that industry years later. just knowing the frugality of most bogleheads I thought I would share my perspective on $100 or less PCs.

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