Computer Questions


So my computer turns 7 this year, and along with 7 years of Vista updates, my computer is generally becoming unable to run most things coming out these days.

That said, I don’t really keep up on computer parts / brands / technomancy so I’m asking of you more computer building adept members of F7 this: I’m currently looking at parts to figure out what I should aim for on a new computer. My general price range is (currently) $1,100 give or take $200 depending on if putting forth a bit more can really be justified. I don’t have any interest in overclocking, nor do I need my computer to do anything drastic like photoshop or movie rendering.

Considering the random stuff I’ve won at lans over the years, I currently feel that my Keyboard, Headset, and Mouse have no real need of upgrading, and I feel my monitor is still working fine.

If you fine folk could suggest parts / brands / why of things like processors, graphics cards, and what not, I would appreciate it.

I can safely assume that with my power supply and motherboard being super old they will probably need to go too, so any help with those is also appreciated. I’m not going to expect you guys to calculate everything out for me, but if you could point me in a direction to look at / what variables really matter that would be awesome!


I’m actually very interested in the answers to this question. My computer is getting old as well and will soon need an upgrade. I’m just holding out for another year or so for some income once I can graduate.


@freeb1rd @freeb1rd @freeb1rd @freeb1rd @freeb1rd @freeb1rd @freeb1rd


Generally what I tell people who ask me these questions is the following:

  1. Most important… Set a budget. Put together a spreadsheet to track your budget vs. actual costs. This really helps identify how much you are willing to put towards each individual component and makes picking them easier I believe.
  2. Do a little research. Get comfortable with what’s currently available.
  3. Put together a list of potential components that fit your budget, but don’t over think it.
  4. Don’t buy the newest (e.g. most expensive, newest, fastest…) components. Your best bang for the buck is always 1-3 steps below top of the line.
  5. Narrow down the list and go for it.

That being said, what I tell people these days is they should get an SSD for the boot drive and most used programs/games (good price vs. performance these days). Video, music, and all your other stuff can still stay on a slower HDD in most cases (very cheap). Video card might be something like a GeForce 750-770 depending on what kind of games you play. Comparable ATI if you prefer. CPU+MB are whatever your budget allows (see #2 above). I like Intel, but have had AMD before so whatever you like. Give or take ~16 GB memory since it’s cheap these days. Don’t get hung up on trying to decide if you should buy a component because it will give you 1-2% increase in performance over the competitors because you’re never going to notice not. Just try to stick with what best fits your budget (unless you’re trying to break a world overclocking record in which case spend more on your computer than a supercar… and then buy me a supercar).

If you have to replace your power supply you need to factor that in too. Find a PSU calculator online to give you a rough idea of how much wattage you will need. Case too unless you have one you want to reuse. If you can reuse other stuff or get it cheap on craiglist/ebay then you might want to consider that to put more money towards components that are more important to you. Something to consider… you can always build a decent computer now and add/upgrade parts later. I find that periodic upgrades are easier to stomach than dropping a ton of cash all at once.

I’ve built computers for myself, family, and friends for over 20 years. It just takes a little thought, but it’s not rocket science. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Enjoy the process because it’s fun. Feel free to hit me up on steam if you have any questions.


Also consider perhaps a laptop replacement that leans towards gaming. A couple of months back I bought Lenovo’s Y510p gaming laptop and have been quite pleased with it. It run’s today’s games quite well as well as everything else in my library and works great for my other applications for work. The biggest advantage is portability if you need that.


Ok well in what research I’ve done these past few days I did come across one question I just really had no idea about, and since socratez seems interested as well I’ll ask it here:

I’ve been looking at RAM and I’ve noticed that different sticks of ram indicate different pin counts and different speed (off hand one I have pulled up is a corsair with a pin count of 240 and a speed of DDR3 1866) What does this mean practically for us? I’m sure the pin count has an effect on what a given motherboard can use, I’ve noticed listing for that on the motherboards, but practically what does the speed mean? I don’t recall ram specifying a speed back when I last built so does that mean there is some other requirement to using the ram?


You need not pay attention to pin counts, but instead whether it is DDR3 (or DDR2 or etc). The motherboard you buy will only accept a certain version of DDR# memory (related to # of pins). They are not backwards or forwards compatible so whatever motherboard/CPU combination you decide on is what kind of DDR# memory you need to get.

The speed 1866 MHz is how quickly the memory can store and access the information. Stick with whatever the “optimal” speed is for your motherboard. The faster the memory will increase performance, but the gains are minor like a couple % at most. You won’t notice the difference.


Thus why I’m sitting on 8 gigs of DDR3 won from the LAN that I can’t use.


I think shen just rebuilt my machine (which is ended up being better than his) for just around 1k. [coolermaster full tower, i5 processor, MSI graphic card, Z97 motherboard, 3TB SATA hard drive, I don’t have exact details, you’d have to ask him]

I did have to drop 180 or so on windows 8.1 pro, since my windows 7 cd key along with the rest of my software did not make it out. After some initial fumbles with windows 8.1 it’s not really that bad. (If you’re still a student somewhere, or can get a student license someplace, you might be better off).

Keep in mind if you snag a 3TB hard drive, you will have to snag some extra software in able to use the extra space. Depending on the bios you have, it may not show up as having more than 2TB, and then windows sometimes runs into an issue. I had to snag some software from segate in order to use the rest of the space from my 3TB drive, so windows thinks I have a 2TB drive, and then the rest of the space separately, even though I have only one physical 3TB drive.


Alright I’m down to my last major decision for the computer, and its down the the graphics card. I’m currently looking at the two following:

option a $159
option b $225

I’m currently looking at an i5 haswell as the processor- so is the extra $65 a noticeable increase? I honestly have no idea how to read the stats on a graphics card.


I would strongly recommend the pcpartpicker site it will give u a great idea of what to use or not to use along with where to get the best prices and pre priced options from $100 to $6000 everything you could possibly need and more is on that site