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Need help building a computer: absolute beginner

(29 posts)
  • Started 4 years ago by johnguy
  • Latest reply from johnguy
  • Topic Viewed 1464 times

johnguy
Posts: 13

I want to make a pc that will play games well, but is not necessarily a gaming computer. Specifically I want to play Empire total war and its acw mod smoothly on high settings. I want to build rather than buy because its cheaper and I like to learn new things. I have read that to play on high settings you should have a quad core processor, so if that's true that's my only starting point. I also want it to play movies and music well, and be fairly fast. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated because even after lots of research I really don't know where to start. Price is the biggest issue so the cheaper the better. The only absolute is that it plays etw on high, and can do everything a standard computer can do, like at schools or libraries.

Thanks

Posted 4 years ago
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bobro
Posts: 384

well its not so much the number of cores on the CPU for running one thing fast, the more cores you have the things you can run at full speed but if your just running one thing then you have 3 cores waiting to do stuff...

That said i would suggest an i5 over an i3 because even if you dont need all these cores today you might tomorrow.

I would recommend 8GB of RAM, again it might be a smidge more than you need but will never hurt to have more, (also get good quality RAM not 'value' RAM)

if your gonna be storing loads of music and movies then a normal HDD would be better, again good quality not the cheapest... I doubt you would need an SSD for this kind of oporation and that will bump the price up.

im not much of a gamer so im not to up on Graphics cards but i spent about £70 on mine and its not struggled on a game yet (does struggle on some high end bench tests though (like the one that came with it?!?!))

the mobo is often where peopel scrimp out, and although i am a beliver in getting things on cards (dedicated audio card, dedicated LAN card etc...) you should put some good money into the mobo. Asus are good, and i love Gigabyte, they make it real easy to over clock (so will the i5) and mine has a duel bios so in theory i cant brick my PC if i muck up the BIOS (dont see how i could, i can overclock my CPU from a 3.1 to a 4.9 in 2 clicks and a reboot)
*also make sure it has loads of USB ports, these will always end up being in short supply.

get a nice sized case as it will make it easier to work in and ensure you have fans in the case and fit them correctly to allow good airflow (especialy if your overclocking (you might even need a bigger heatsink and fan on the CPU but my stock one is coping))

PSU, this is another thing people offten scrimp on, make sure you get a beefy one, i think mine is a 1000W and its modular so you only need to have the cables you need coming out of it.

good luck

Posted 4 years ago
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Zagreus
Posts: 446

Johnguy. Have a look here. http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/.....32485.html

Try this as well. http://www.tomshardware.com/re.....,3247.html

Daveh.

Posted 4 years ago
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johnguy
Posts: 13

Thanks for the answers, but it's clear to me that I need to learn more about computers before I can start choosing parts. I find that I don't know how to read the specs for the parts. It's like trying to read another language. I would know if the parts are compatible, and I don't know exactly what I need. I don't want to go overboard on expensive parts that I don't need, but I want to make sure the parts wont need to be upgraded in the near future. Any help with reading specs?

Posted 4 years ago
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johnguy
Posts: 13

Also, what is the difference between the processor and the ram, and how will it affect the game and overall computer performance? thanks again

Posted 4 years ago
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warlock
Posts: 4100

http://www.strategyinformer.co.....ments.html You mentioned this game in your first post.

Posted 4 years ago
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johnguy
Posts: 13

Did you mean a dual or quad core i5 processor?

Posted 4 years ago
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Zagreus
Posts: 446

If you are a complete novice, i would suggest that you look to your local college for a computer course. In the meantime Google for the information and see how you get on.

Daveh.

Posted 4 years ago
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warlock
Posts: 4100

A posting of your location (USA, UK) may eventually help too. For parts etc. Many here buy from Newegg.

Posted 4 years ago
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johnguy
Posts: 13

Im the the U.S.

Posted 4 years ago
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warlock
Posts: 4100

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_hardware If you need to know the difference between the processor and ram here is some reading for you.

Posted 4 years ago
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hArLtRoN
Posts: 766

This book really helped me when I built my first PC a few years ago!

http://www.dummies.com/store/p.....96114.html
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Build-Yo.....or+Dummies

I got mine from my local library.

Posted 4 years ago
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warlock
Posts: 4100

@johnguy, Another thought, you said in your first post a build would be cheaper ie. less expensive. That is not always true. Also, you will have no warranty with the exception of parts on a build.

Posted 4 years ago
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johnguy
Posts: 13

Do you think there is a less expensive way? As long as I have the ability to upgrade I can buy instead of build. What is the cheapest way, and do you have any suggestions?

Posted 4 years ago
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hArLtRoN
Posts: 766

Any computer you buy or build can be upgraded. Warlock does have a point about the warranty. I recently had to replace the hard drive in my build. Cost about $70. After two years that is the only hardware issue I have had.

Posted 4 years ago
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johnguy
Posts: 13

Does anybody have any suggestions for an inexpensive computer or bare bones computer that can run this game on high/medium settings? Need to know where to start

Posted 4 years ago
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warlock
Posts: 4100

While we are just chatting here I am not a builder. There are builders on the HTG site. My personal opinion is you are not ready for that. bobro posted some information for you in an above post. did it go right over your head? Probably is my guess. Not putting you down in anyway but, you need to learn a lot if you want a good functioning computer that you have built on your own. Believe me if you decide to do that you will get help here. Again my opinion only, I think you should just buy a computer already built. You can update later.

http://www.pcworld.com/article....._1000.html This is outdated already from 8/11.

Posted 4 years ago
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warlock
Posts: 4100

Just thought of this. Maybe upgrade the computer you are on now. If it's yours that is.

Posted 4 years ago
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Zagreus
Posts: 446

Did you look at the second link i gave you? That could be a starting point.

Daveh.

Posted 4 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

johnguy,

The first question you MUST answer is:

What is the Maximum Budget you have for the Build ????

Rick P.

Posted 4 years ago
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warlock
Posts: 4100

@Rick, I knew you would be here eventually. You're the man.

Posted 4 years ago
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johnguy
Posts: 13

Im still in the planning stages, and Im not 100% sure on the amount of money I will be able to spend. I would like to spend about $500. I Really just want a computer that can play empire total war on high, but it doesnt need to do anything more than that, other than play and copy cd and dvd like any other computer. I want a home computer that can play that game well. I learned a lot and ive considered all the comments. What i need to know is how to determine part compatibility, and the minimum that I need to run the game on high. I think im going with AMD, so can anyone suggest a motherboard and cpu to start with. The games suggested specs are a dual core 2.4 GHz processor. So I dont know if a quad core is necessary, but I might want a faster speed to be safe so I can play on high settings. I wont do a lot of multitasking so am I correct in saying the processor speed is more important than the # of cores? I want to be able to add more ram later so I need a motherboard that allows that. Any motherboard/cpu suggestions? thanks and sorry. I do appreciate all the help

Posted 4 years ago
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johnguy
Posts: 13

Im sorry the minimum requirements is 2.4 GHz, the recommended is 2.6 GHz.

Posted 4 years ago
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warlock
Posts: 4100

http://www.strategyinformer.co.....ments.html

Posted 4 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920
 
johnguy
Posts: 13

What do you think of these parts. Any issues? Will it make a complete working computer suitable for my purpose?
Processor: AMD Phenom II X2 3.2 Ghz
Motherboard: ASUS M4A785-M
Graphics Card Processor: Radeon HD 4850 1024MB
4GB DDR2 RAM
Case and Power Supply: 9257 Black Computer Case/Mid Tower 600 Watt and 250mm Fan
Hard Drive: Western Digital SATA Internal Hard Drive, 320GB, 7200 RPM
SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black EIDE/ATAPI Model SH-S222A

Will there be any compatibility issues or can I get a better compatible part for less or the same price? thanks

Posted 4 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

Mother Board is an out-of-date discontinued production component and so are other items.

Suggest you save up your money and find other uses for a computer beside playing old games.

I realize gaming is fun but there are 1000s of better reasons for building a computer. :) :)

Rick P.

Posted 4 years ago
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johnguy
Posts: 13

Is it even possible to build a computer that can play the game I want for under $500-$600. It doesnt have to be top-of the-line parts, I think its a fairly old game anyway, if that matters. Other than the one game, it will only be used for basic things. Are there any other alternatives? Do you have any suggestions?

Posted 4 years ago
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johnguy
Posts: 13

These are the parts I have chosen to build my pc, and I was wondering if they would run etw with no problems. Also, do you see any issues with compatibility, and would I be able to upgrade in the future? Also, is this a complete computer, or do I need something else to use it. I have Windows 7 64-bit os on a disc, so could I just install that?

COOLER MASTER Elite 311 RC-311B-OWN1 Orange Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
TOSHIBA DT01ACA050 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
GIGABYTE GA-970A-D3 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity ...
SONY Black SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model DDU1681S-0B - OEM
Diablotek DA Series PSDA600 600W ATX12V v2.2 Power Supply
Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model PGD38G1333ELK
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX

This is a budget computer, so I cant afford the latest technology. As long as it can run Empire Total War on high settings without problems. Other than that it will be used for basic things like cd and dvd playback and internet browsing. thanks

Posted 4 years ago
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