WOOO HOOO!!!!!!!! Gimme Yo Gamertag officially has 1,000 followers (and exactly 1,000 posts counting this one… awesome, I know)!
And you all know what that means… it’s time for a Giftcard Giveaway!
I will be giving away a $10 GameStop Giftcard to one lucky follower in a few days. All you have to do is:
- Reblog (not like) this post.
- Be a follower of GYG.
The contest will end next Wednesday night when a winner will be chosen at random and announced. So get to it and reblog for the chance to win :)
And I’d like to also say thank you SO much to all of my followers and supporters. You guys are amazing!!!
A Master Chief Avatar Armor (male) Code for Xbox Live (in celebration of GYG reaching 900 followers tonight)!!! RULES:
- Only reblog once
- Likes don’t count
- Follow Gimme Yo Gamertag (if you haven’t already)
- Contest ends tomorrow at 5PM(central) where winner will be selected at random and announced soon after!
So start reblogging and be on the lookout for another code giveaway for Halo lovers coming up very soon.
Ever wondered why your Dell or HP (insert any pre-built all-in-one company) desktop craps out after two years and is essentially useless leaving you to drop another $1000-2000 on another computer/laptop? Ever considered building your own desktop? Or better yet do you have any idea how much cheaper it really is to build your own? Well I recently did and not only will it last 5 years at least if not more (with minor upgrades), but it also cost me almost half as less as a comparable HP or Dell. Let me explain…
Recently I have felt the need to go back to my roots as a PC gamer. I can’t lie and say it didn’t have a lot to do with the recent release of Battlefield 3 (favorite shooter series of all time). So I had it set in my mind that I needed to build a PC that could run that on high settings with no frame-rate issues (for non-gamers that is the amount of frames per second or essentially how smooth the game runs on the screen. Lower frame rate is going to result in a choppy and slow image.) It was with that goal in mind that I decided to start this project with some help from a good friend.
In this post I will be explaining the major components of building your own PC, and how to go about understanding the pricing thousands of options you have. After all we are focused on saving money with this blog, and though buying PC parts may not seem to sit right with you if you’re in debt (as far as up front costs), there is a way to save within the context of the build and it will cost you so much less in the long run and will still be cheaper than any Dell or HP upfront cost. Ill go through the steps and show you what you need and how much you are looking at price wise. Also keep in mind that PC’s have thousands of options and parts that can be used. No PC will be exactly the same in most cases. It’s dependent on how you intend to use it.
When starting a project such as this it’s best to start with understanding what exactly you will need, so lets go over the major parts needed to have a PC up and running. And yes this is going to be another longer post. Sorry guys, but its all need to know info and hard to condense.
This is the glue of the machine. It houses connections that allow every other part to all work together. Without it you don’t have a PC (though that’s true of most of the parts listed). The motherboard houses your CPU (central processing unit), Memory, Video Card, and connects to your CD/DVD Drive, Power Supply, Hard Drive, and any other components you choose to install. A good motherboard is never a bad thing. On average a good motherboard will run around $100, but they can get as high as $500 (unnecessary for most gaming/media rigs).
I like to think of this as the brain of your computer. No brain = No life in a human being. The same works for a PC. You’ve probably seen commercials or heard of the reigning CPU, INTEL. The lesser-known competition AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) also works the same way. I personally chose to use INTEL for my build, but it comes down to preference. Both do much the same thing with different price points and benchmarks. A mid-range processor will cost around $200, but a more high-end CPU can go even higher.
When I think of memory, I think of it as the budget director of the PC. The CPU thinks of how to complete a task and tells the memory that it will cost a certain amount over a certain length of time. The memory’s job is to figure out whether the PC has enough revenue to budget that task. Think of it in terms of generally temporary storage. All current PC games require a set amount of memory to run smoothly and this is where you should not be afraid to spend a little extra. 4gb (gigabytes) memory is the current standard, but 8 is better and so on up the scale. 16, 32, or 64 gigabytes (gb) of ram would be considered a great amount of revenue for your PC. The more the merrier. Memory currently is on the cheaper side but can run the gamut of anywhere from $50 to $500 depending on what specific RAM (random access memory) you intend to use. Also most motherboards have a limit of the amount you can install. So make sure to know what type you need as well as what size you can have installed.
This is a must have device for any gaming PC. Games have become so advanced that they no longer can really run without a good video card. There are generally two major developers to choose from each with advantages and similar benchmarks. NVIDIA and ATI (developed by AMD) sit as the top two reigning innovators. Both offer great products and it should be mentioned that even when NVIDIA releases a new video card model that you may see a partner company like EVGA, PNY, ASUS, or GIGABYTE produce the innovative cards. NVIDIA and AMD name brand cards will in most cases cost you more, but what’s important is the model. A good graphics card will run you around $200, but a great one can run around $500-$600. Just be aware that you may not need the highest end video card (Ill explain later how to know what you need).
This is fairly simple. A hard drive stores all of your information such as files, music, movies, games, windows, etc. The more you have the better, but be careful because the prices are higher right now. Current hard drives are in the Gigabyte size ranges, so I would again evaluate how much space you think you will need for all your files and plan accordingly. The great thing about building your own PC is that you can most likely (with modern PC cases) add multiple internal hard drives later on if you need. I currently have a 3 Terabyte (equal to 3000 gigabytes!) hard drive with slots for 3 more hard drives. But I wont be running out of space anytime soon! The amount you need is up to you, but I would recommend at least 500gb.
This is the most common type of media input device that people use. If you buy Windows 7 at a retail store, you will most likely get a Disc that you need to insert into your computer to install the program. Well your CD/DVD drive is what allows you to do this. Most today come with the ability to also burn media onto a writable disc. For those of you that download all of your media you may decide to opt out of even getting a CD/DVD Drive. For most of us however it’s a good device to have. Good news is that most of these drives are cheap and fall in around the $20-$50 range. Don’t go crazy on buying the most expensive drive, but also do your research and make sure the one you get has received good reviews.
All of the parts of a computer can’t run without power, and that is exactly what this piece does. They come in different wattages, so its extremely important to know how much wattage your PC build will need and make sure that you comply with that wattage. The great news is that they are also a cheaper part, though they can get more expensive as the wattage goes up. Look to spend around $40 - $90 here, but keep in mind that some PC cases also come with a power supply built in. So double check.
This is the giant box that houses all of your internal components listed above. Some are flashy and some are plain. Some house more cooling options while some offer other features such as led lights and other (generally useless) aesthetic features. The most important thing to check is that your PC case has enough space to fit all your components and motherboard. Also make sure it has enough slots for any devices your may want to install later. Cases run anywhere from $30 - ?? . Again you can pay a lot for a case, but when on a budget those aesthetic LED lights really are worthless to the PC performance. Go with what suites your need and looks nice to you. And remember extra cooling systems, lights, and fans other than what is needed are just inviting more problems that can go wrong. The more moving parts the more that can go wrong.
Ok…. So that’s a lengthy but super short explanation of the major components…moving on.
So here’s what I suggest you do and we will use me as an example. You should pick a benchmark game to decide what you want to be able to run. In my case that was Battlefield 3, which is very well optimized and demands a bit of PC power. So I started by looking at what Battlefield recommends I have to run at optimal settings. Do not go by their minimum system requirements unless you don’t mind a lagged, and possibly under-performing gaming experience. Here’s what I found on their site…
Recommended system requirements for Battlefield 3
- OS: Windows 7 64-bit
- Processor: Quad-core Intel or AMD CPU
- RAM: 4GB
- Graphics card: DirectX 11 Nvidia or AMD ATI card, Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 or ATI Radeon 6950.
- Graphics card memory: 1 GB
- Sound card: DirectX compatible sound card
- Hard drive: 15 GB for disc version or 10 GB for digital version
This is our starting point. I need to meet these requirements to run that game on High settings. Any upgrading of parts from here future-proofs my machine even further. So lets start with the CPU. Being that I decided to go with Intel for the CPU, this still leaves me with some options to consider. Newegg.com (which is where you should do all of your initial pricing) lists over 60 Intel CPUs that I can choose from. Intel Quad-Core refers to their current i5 and i7 series of CPUs (i7 being the newest at around $80-100 more than most i5 CPUs). So being on a budget the i5 series is Quad-Core and is more than enough to cover their requirement.
Be very careful to make sure that your motherboard will be compatible with the CPU. Last thing you want is a motherboard that isn’t compatible with your CPU. How can you tell? Most current motherboards are going to be listed with “LGA” followed by a number in the description. For me it read as “LGA 1155”. Ultimately whatever it says, just make sure the CPU and Motherboard you choose both have the connection listed in their description to ensure compatibility.
Next thing to consider is the Video Card. It requires (for high settings) a NVIDIA or AMD ATI card that allows for DirectX 11. DirectX 11 is software that you can download after installing your video card that is required by all modern games. Most video cards come with it on their install disc. I know for a fact that Battlefield can run with DirectX 10 (the last version), but 11 would be optimal (and prettier haha). So they have listed the NVIDIA Geforce GTX 560 and the ATI Radeon 6950 as cards that will do just that. Most modern video cards require a PCI express slot on the motherboard to install them so again make sure that your motherboard, video card and CPU selection reflects the compatible connections needed.
An interesting thing about video cards is that they come with 1gb or 2gb ram installed in the card itself, which takes care of a lot of the hard work when running a modern game. Most are around 1gb for standard cards, however some come with 2gb. What’s the difference? Well 2gb is better for those of us who are hooking our PC’s into a TV, large monitor or multiple monitors that support a resolution above 1920x1080. Most 1080p TV’s/Monitors require only 1gb, and also many games bottleneck the speeds at 1gb anyways, but something to consider. Battlefield demands your card have at least 1gb. I found a 2gb GeForce GTX 550ti for much cheaper than a 1gb GeForce GTX 560 would have been, so I opted for the later 550 model with higher gb’s. Also if your wondering what the “ti” stands for, just know that it generally means a more refined version of the card with better cooling and less fan noise. It will cost a little more as well.
Next on the list is RAM (memory). Battlefield wants to see at least 4gb, but since I want to build a machine that is a little future proof (meaning it will last a few good years) I decided to add 16gb, even though my motherboard allows for 32gb. Remember that you can always upgrade to more RAM later if need be. What type of RAM should you get? Well once you have selected your CPU, Video Card, and have matched it up to a motherboard that suites your needs, then it is simply double checking what type and how much your motherboard accepts. My ASUS P8H67-M PRO motherboard accepts DDR3 SDRAM (which is probably the most common type of RAM today) with up to 32gb capacity. It ran me about $100 for the RAM but again I was investing in future proofing the machine.
As a quick aside, most of what will work with your motherboard just comes down to knowing what it allows. There are hundreds if not thousands of motherboards to choose from. Just make sure every piece of your computer is compatible with your motherboard. And remember that going cheap on your motherboard could possibly hurt you down the road. Do some research and make sure it’s got good reviews. Moving on…
Sound cards are for the most part already going to be integrated into your motherboard (as well as a lesser internal video card if its modern). For me the motherboard took care of this. If not, then again simply look into what your motherboard allows and find a sound card that fits and is compatible with DirectX. I doubt there is one on the market that isn’t compatible, but double check. Most cases your motherboard will have you covered already though.
This leaves the hard drive space. Battlefield wants at least 15gb, but I can tell you that after downloading updates and downloadable content (DLC), you’re going to want much more. I would recommend going with a 1tb hard drive (1 terabyte is equal to 1000gb) or at least a 500gb hard drive if you want to save some money. Modern hard drives connect to the motherboard by using SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) connections which is a fancy way of describing the type of cable used to connect it to your motherboard. Again make sure your motherboard allows for SATA connections and your set to go.
Of course you’re going to need the Windows 7 (64bit) operating system to install Battlefield 3 so make sure you grab a copy. Also keep in mind that the reason Windows is so expensive to buy upfront is because Microsoft wants you to think twice and buy one of their many pre-built PCs. They contract and make money by offering you a “cheaper” computer (however for gaming PC’s they really overcharge and you’ll see examples later in the post) and pre-installing Windows onto your machine, because they make more money from computer sales then sales of Windows 7 software. You can save by exploring retailers and seeing who offers the best price on Windows 7, but when building your PC it’s going to be part of the upfront cost. Also add a (WIRED!!) Keyboard and mouse to the list. I emphasis wired, because when installing windows from the CD/DVD drive for the first time it wont recognize a wireless keyboard because no software is installed on the PC yet. Just be aware or be ready to borrow someone’s wired keyboard upon installing for the first time.
So lets add up some costs…
MY OWN BUILT PC:
• Quad-Core Intel i5 (2500k) 3.3ghz Sandy Bridge LGA 1155 Processor
($200 at MicroCenter)
• EVGA 2gb GeForce GTX 550ti Video Card ($170 at Best Buy)
• ASUS P8H67-M PRO/CSM (Rev. 3) Motherboard ($114 at NewEgg)
• 16gb Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM memory ($95 at NewEgg)
• DVD-R Drive ($15 at NewEgg)
• Seagate 3tb SATA Internal Hard Drive ($229 at NewEgg. You don’t need 3tb haha)
• 500w Power Supply ($40 at NewEgg)
• Cooler Master Desktop Case ($45 at MicroCenter)
• Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium ($99 at NewEgg)
FOR A TOTAL OF…. $1007 for my build (minus mouse and keyboard). But replace my 3tb hard drive with a 500gb and your looking at a total of $868.
Add a $20 mouse and $20 keyboard on top of that 500gb hard drive and your looking at a total of $908. This is all assuming you’re hooking this PC into your already owned HDTV. A monitor will cost you a bit more if you need to purchase one. Also with any computer it is better to hook into the Internet with a wired Ethernet connection, which is already installed into your motherboard. So the cost of a cheap Ethernet cable will cost no more than $10 if you’re going to set the PC up right next to your Modem and router.
Now lets compare this to some pre-built machines from major All-in-One companies like Dell and HP. Now of course some components wont be the same or even offered to compare to our PC build but Ill try to get it comparably close for our purposes. See below.
DELL ALIENWARE X51:
• Windows 7 Home Premium (“included” in price)
• Quad-Core i7-2600 3.4ghz Processor (better processor than our build)
• 8gb DDR3 SDRAM (half the memory of our build)
• 1gb NVIDIA Geforce GTX 555 (lesser video card)
• 1tb SATA Hard Drive (1/3 the size of our 3tb build)
• 330w External Power Supply (80w over half the wattage of our 500w build)
• Keyboard and mouse (“included” in price)
• and the best part… No Monitor Included.
At a grand total of … $1149.00
($142 more than our build with half as less power)
HPE PHEONIX H9XT SERIES
Hp actually allowed me to match some of the devices fairly close to our build excluding the following:
• Six-Core i7-3930k 3.2ghz Processor (Which is major overkill)
• 1gb NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550ti (the 1gb version of our video card)
• Beats Audio Sound Card (most likely not essential depending on the motherboard)
• 15-in-1 memory card reader (not essential, unless it is to you)
• Blu-ray Player (not essential, unless it is to you)
• Wireless Card (Ethernet connection is more secure)
Are you ready for the total?… $1879.99
(that’s only $832.99 more expensive for close to the same set up with the addition of the overkill Intel CPU!!).
So what’s the lesson here? Well essentially you’re going to pay much more for similar gaming set ups through a company like Dell or HP. Why is that though? Well it all has to do with a term I use that I like to imagine Dell and HP use in their pricing meetings. I call this $832.99 extra fee the “Ignorance Fee”. This is not to insult anyone and I’m not sitting on any horses that are higher than your horse. This is literally why Dell and HP can charge insane amounts for a computer that you can build yourself. They know that most likely a customer thinks its going to be super complicated to build their own and I’m here to tell them and you, that’s incorrect thinking! Have you ever built anything with Legos? Then you have all the basic training you need to start thinking about building your next PC gaming machine!
That’s all for Part One of why you need to BUILD YOUR OWN PC ALREADY! Stay tuned in the coming days for part 2; a step-by-step general tutorial on how to build your PC once you have all your parts ordered and are ready to get down to work. If you are still a little confused about how you should go about doing this, that’s perfectly ok. Wait for my next post and hopefully that tutorial will calm your apprehension. You can do this. Don’t ever pay the Ignorance Fee!
probably should have read this yesterday. lol oh well. this is great. makes me wanna build my own pc. now if I just had the money….
I bet she regrets this.
Who in their right fucking mind would ever get something like this permanently marked on their body.
I don’t think she’s dumb for getting it, it’s just in a really stupid place. She could have gotten it on her side or hip or something where it can be hidden, not just BAM right there on her chest. It’s a cute idea but if I got it there, I’d regret it, too.
I agree. Needs a better place imo