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Building a computer not my strong suit. Advice sought!

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Tigerlea
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PostPosted: 17:04 - 13 Sep 2017    Post subject: Building a computer not my strong suit. Advice sought! Reply with quote

Right. So I'm on my way back to University.. er.. next week.

I have a laptop which I purchased as my last graduation gift a 17" Macbook Pro which has served me well for the last 11 years, but it's time for an upgrade. I've wanted a desktop for ages but don't know much about building computers. I've only ever been good at coding on them.

I'm debating whether to spend money on an upgraded laptop as well as a desktop. I'm planning to get a PS4 soon, so I'm not sure I need the gaming monster I was originally planning on.

Apparently the minimum/recommended specs from the Uni are:
Dedicated graphics card
8gb, 12gb or 16gb memory
SSD hard-drive
i5 / i7 processor


Programs I know it'll need to run:
Dedicated graphics card
Adobe Creative Suite
3DS Max
Maya
other digital creative software that I have yet to learn the name of


I also want to be able to play games on it.. Damn, I miss games. One of those is Overwatch.. but I found out I can play that on PS4, so again, with the debating.

Uhm... I had a rough budget in mind, but to be honest, I'm not sure if that has to be thrown out the window.

Help? Please?
I'm only a girl and I don't know what I'm doing Rolling Eyes

PS ~ I do not need the computer for next week. I don't actually get my flat until November, and the room I'll be renting in the meantime is too small to fit a tower.
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CaNsA
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PostPosted: 17:58 - 13 Sep 2017    Post subject: Re: Building a computer not my strong suit. Advice sought! Reply with quote

Tigerlea wrote:
Uhm... I had a rough budget in mind, but to be honest, I'm not sure if that has to be thrown out the window.


Are we supposed to guess what that would be?
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linuxyeti
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PostPosted: 18:39 - 13 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be honest, probably hardly worth it these days, you'll do just as well going onto pc specialist and specing your own.

https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/
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M.C
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PostPosted: 19:07 - 13 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not an expert but I've done a bit of 3ds Max. TBH you need to decide if you want it for gaming or not, cos you'll be after a different spec' system. If not you'll probably be fine with a Ryzen system, an average GPU and as much memory as you can realistically afford Smile

If it's for gaming you'll want a 3-400 GPU and better CPU to run anything decent. I'd only get a laptop if you need the portability, I used Max on my laptop at first and it was spectacularly shit.
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Sapolsky
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PostPosted: 19:08 - 13 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

You want another laptop? I'm confused as Uni generally = laptop, but you are asking about building your own?

I've been looking into laptops recently. As far as gaming goes the one with the best cost:performance appears to be Gigabyte Aero 15.

Absolute best for gaming appears to be Razer but paying a premium for "Razer".

I'm having a bit of a crisis as I have always been a mac person, since power pc days. My current laptop is a 2008 Macbook Pro that I've upgraded as much as I can. The new Macbooks (air/pro/standard) have ZERO upgradability, not even the bloody hard drive, and because of that I am no longer willing to hand over cash to Apple, no matter how great their build quality is Sad

My shortlist atm is:
Lenovo Yoga 920 - intel graphics, blegh
Gigabyte Aero 15 - has a 6GB Geforce GTX 1060
Dell XPS 15 - has a 4GB GeForce GTX 1050
Each have pros and cons, leaning towards the gigabyte though.

What I have learned in my laptop searching:

- Wait for Kaby Lake processors (probably October), they run cooler and have lower power requirements so are good for laptops.
- Look for upgradability if you are happy to do such things, At the very least you want an upgradable Hard Drive. Yeah, yeah... SSD are more reliable, but if the shit hits the fan I want to be able to pop out a HD and replace it without having to send it back to the manufacturer or end up having to bin the entire bloody computer.
- Ports. I want ports, I want lots of ports. I don't want 2.
- 4K displays look fancy, but the scaling can make it difficult to read webpages and such, if you are going to be doing a lot of *work* on the computer, really not worth the extra cost as you'll spend more time faffing with setting to make stuff easier to read.
- I'm going to miss Mac OS
- I hate Tim Cook


As for desktops...
1) go to a site that builds them
2) add in all of the cool things
3) weep as you stare at the price
4) start compromising
5) keep compromising
6) admit defeat and buy what you can afford safe in the knowledge that you can upgrade it bit by bit in the future

One last thing - you mention overwatch, don't forget that a pc account and a console account are completely separate. If you are playing on console atm and buy the PC version, you will NOT get all of the stuff you have on console, you will be starting from scratch. (and vice versa ofc)
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Howling Terror
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PostPosted: 20:15 - 13 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

The uni may have some affiliation with a vendor...Inquire. Wink
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CaNsA
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PostPosted: 22:12 - 13 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

If i was gonna spunk a grand on a pc again, i would probs build something like this

https://i.imgur.com/0qNeOrc.png
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RhynoCZ
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PostPosted: 08:03 - 14 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

CaNsA wrote:
If i was gonna spunk a grand on a pc again, i would probs build something like this

https://i.imgur.com/0qNeOrc.png


Fun fact, the rx580 is just a overcloked rx480, you may flash the bios of the card to get there. I would get a GTX1060 instead. It's got better eficiency (less heat), slightely better gaming performance, pretty much the same price. GTX1070 would be the best choice here.

750W PSU is a bit excessive, for a single GPU set up.

Other than that, go ahead. I'd be more inclined to get a intel CPU or wait for the second rev. of the Ryzen chip. The optimalisation of the AMD platform is still a on going process and the games and software developers still prefer their rival from the blue team.

Also, don't forget you're going to have to buy Windows, or go with Linux on which the Ryzen chips don't work, as far as I know.
OR even, buy a used copy of W10, there are companies that sell used W10 licences, pretty much 50% off. These licences are mostly from failed businesses. It's a EU thing only though, so do it before the UK leaves it.
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CaNsA
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PostPosted: 11:29 - 14 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

RhynoCZ wrote:
Fun fact, the rx580 is just a overcloked rx480, you may flash the bios of the card to get there.

I wonder where you found that gem of info... here perhaps?
https://www.bikechatforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=319999

Quote:
750W PSU is a bit excessive, for a single GPU set up.

Room for expansion.

Quote:
Also, don't forget you're going to have to buy Windows

Anyone who buys a copy of Windows for home use is a complete mug.
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RhynoCZ
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PostPosted: 11:48 - 14 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not quite there, but on the interwebz, also the difference between the 480 and 580 is about 10% performance boost, not worth the extra money, if you asked me.

But, I'm going to ask you about the PSU. What expansion do you mean, CaNsA?
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vice
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PostPosted: 11:58 - 14 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://s3media.247sports.com/Uploads/Assets/675/736/4736675.gif
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CaNsA
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PostPosted: 12:25 - 14 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

RhynoCZ wrote:
But, I'm going to ask you about the PSU. What expansion do you mean, CaNsA?

Expanding the storage with extra and/or larger harddrives.
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M.C
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PostPosted: 14:34 - 14 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a personal opinion, not wanting to join the nerd fight Razz, I wouldn't spend that much on a Ryzen system. I'd go Intel/Nvidia if I was spending a grand, Ryzen for a budget build.
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RhynoCZ
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PostPosted: 17:04 - 14 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

CaNsA wrote:
RhynoCZ wrote:
But, I'm going to ask you about the PSU. What expansion do you mean, CaNsA?

Expanding the storage with extra and/or larger harddrives.


Modern HDDs require about 5W of power (older HDDs close to 9W and HDDs 2TB and smaller about 4.5W). The board you've suggested has 4 SATA 3.0 ports = extra 20W if all 4 drives are reading/writing at the same time. Thinking

Both RX580 and GTX1070 require 500W PSU, which is still playing it safe. The PSU suggestion is made including the rest of the PC.
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CaNsA
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PostPosted: 17:14 - 14 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd rather have the overhead available if needed.
Nothing wrong with having a beefy PSU.
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andym
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PostPosted: 18:41 - 14 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it just me or are CPU's getting slower?

Anyway, I upgraded from the GTX 660 to GTX 1060 (6gb) a few months ago, and maybe I don't have the best collection of games for it, but it still plays GTA V, Watch Dogs 2 and a couple of others on ultra settings... and that's on my rapidly aging AMD CPU.

As for PSU, again I've never gone with the big brands, but always go for much higher than I would ever need (currently 850w).

The only thing(s) I may upgrade in the near future is an SLI motherboard and a shit load more RAM (currently 8gb)
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CaNsA
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PostPosted: 18:43 - 14 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

andym wrote:
Is it just me or are CPU's getting slower?

The speed may be shown as slower, but it can do more things at the same time. If you know what i mean.
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RhynoCZ
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PostPosted: 19:29 - 14 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy, read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instructions_per_cycle

The clock speed of a CPU is not the only performance figure anymore.

PSU wise, every PSU has it's given efficiency (the desing, componets...). Higher the wattage, more electricity gets turned into heat (side product, that you do not need). Lower wattage PSUs also have this issue but it's not as significant.

That's what the ''80 plus'' stuff is about. If you have a 80plus PSU, it means it converts 80% of the electrcity to what the PC needs and the rest of it, 20%, is heat. Higher the grade Bronze+, Gold+... better the eficiency. So, all this means, if you have a 1000W PSU with 80plus certification, you'll get 800W of DC for your PC and 200W in heat loss.

Early ATX PSUs had efficiency about 60 to 70%, That means from a 1000W PSU, 300-400W turned into heat and you only got effectively 600-700W for your PC.

I would say OP would be just fine with a 80plus 550W PSU. Some are even made so well, that the fan doesn't spin, unless you really push it.

EDIT: When talking about numbers, it's the maximum power output of such PSUs.
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Tigerlea
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PostPosted: 11:22 - 22 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice so far guys. I was following the IT chatter pretty well until about the last 3 posts.

So.. I don't remember... Is ram and memory the same thing? Embarassed



PS ~ I have gotten a PS4 - yay!
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RhynoCZ
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PostPosted: 11:30 - 22 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tigerlea wrote:
So.. I don't remember... Is ram and memory the same thing? Embarassed


https://youtu.be/NdREEcfaihg?t=9s Laughing
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pudder
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PostPosted: 12:50 - 22 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tigerlea wrote:
Thanks for the advice so far guys. I was following the IT chatter pretty well until about the last 3 posts.

So.. I don't remember... Is ram and memory the same thing? Embarassed

PS ~ I have gotten a PS4 - yay!


RAM = Random access memory

Short term memory that can be accessed very quickly. It temporarily holds what you are working on. Without any context, in most cases I would guess 'memory' would refer to RAM.

There is also storage memory, in the form of a hard drive. This is where all your files are stored.


Analogy I used to use when I worked in Comet:

Imagine you are sitting at a desk in a library.
You have shelves and shelves of books sitting there, which are equivalent to your files stored on your hard drive. If you want to open a file/book, you have to look up where it is on the shelf, then go trudging off to retrieve it, which takes quite a while.
At any one time, you probably only want to have a small number of those files/books open, so you might as well keep them on your desk while you are using them. This is the equivalent of your RAM, its very quick to pick up a book from your desk.

If you only have a small desk (not much RAM), then it can't hold many books, and the librarian will come along and put some of them back on the shelves. The bigger your desk (the more RAM you have), then more you can have open at one time.
Overnight (when you turn the computer off), the librarian will come along and put all the books from your desk back on the shelf.

If you find that you are running out of space for your books/files, then you either need to get rid of some, or get more storage shelves. This would be a larger hard drive, or an additional hard drive.
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vice
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PostPosted: 13:34 - 22 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

battering ram

http://i.imgur.com/EOaHZgU.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/dwk1rEC.jpg
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M.C
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PostPosted: 14:19 - 22 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

pudder wrote:
There is also storage memory, in the form of a hard drive. This is where all your files are stored.

I thought only stupid people with iPhones referred to storage space as memory.
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pudder
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PostPosted: 17:08 - 22 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

M.C wrote:
pudder wrote:
There is also storage memory, in the form of a hard drive. This is where all your files are stored.

I thought only stupid people with iPhones referred to storage space as memory.


Considering how many of them there are, its worth learning their language Neutral
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Im-a-Ridah
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PostPosted: 18:11 - 22 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm at uni. I use a 13" laptop. Desktops and 15"+ laptops are fine unless you want to take them to uni, which means carrying the huge lump around all day. Also remember that most of that software will be on computers in labs at uni. Maybe it's just me but I try to keep what I carry around as light as possible e.g tablet, usb charger and a pad for lecture notes.

Edit: I study engineering.

RhynoCZ wrote:
CaNsA wrote:
If i was gonna spunk a grand on a pc again, i would probs build something like this

https://i.imgur.com/0qNeOrc.png


Fun fact, the rx580 is just a overcloked rx480, you may flash the bios of the card to get there. I would get a GTX1060 instead. It's got better eficiency (less heat), slightely better gaming performance, pretty much the same price. GTX1070 would be the best choice here.

750W PSU is a bit excessive, for a single GPU set up.

Other than that, go ahead. I'd be more inclined to get a intel CPU or wait for the second rev. of the Ryzen chip. The optimalisation of the AMD platform is still a on going process and the games and software developers still prefer their rival from the blue team.

Also, don't forget you're going to have to buy Windows, or go with Linux on which the Ryzen chips don't work, as far as I know.
OR even, buy a used copy of W10, there are companies that sell used W10 licences, pretty much 50% off. These licences are mostly from failed businesses. It's a EU thing only though, so do it before the UK leaves it.


Should be able to get a free copy of windows through uni. MSDNAA.
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