Build your own computer guide

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It's been a long time coming, but I'm finally going to build myself a new computer. This one is old. It's served me well, but it is time to retire it. I don't think I can really sell anything off of it; it's almost 10 years old I think, and just about everything in it is the same age.

Also, I liked this:
 
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My motherboard has 2 empty DDr3 slots and I was hoping to upgrade from 8 gigs to sixteen, does it make more sense to get 2 ram cards with 4 gigabytes each, or one with eight gigabytes?
 

GasBandit

Staff member
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My motherboard has 2 empty DDr3 slots and I was hoping to upgrade from 8 gigs to sixteen, does it make more sense to get 2 ram cards with 4 gigabytes each, or one with eight gigabytes?
It depends on the motherboard, but usually, the answer is two identical 4s, preferably identical to the two 4s you already have.

One eight will still work, but usually, two identical fours (or really, 4 identical fours) will be faster.

Assuming we're all talking about chips of the same speed.
 
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One eight will still work, but usually, two identical fours (or really, 4 identical fours) will be faster.
Ehhh....no. It does depend a lot on your motherboard...and your processor. Definitely will need to know both before you go shopping, or else run the risk of having memory failures or even damaging your motherboard/CPU.

Your motherboard manual should show the maximum memory supported by the board (sometimes this maximum will change based on which CPU you are using, too!), and sometimes you can exceed what it says if the reason they didn’t go higher at press time was because the larger modules weren’t yet available in quantity, but unless you have proof that you can use larger/higher density modules than what is listed in the manual, you’re taking a risk. Type and speed (DDR3-1333/PC3-10600) are merely the starting point, there is still more research to do. How many channels? How many banks per channel? How many ranks per module? Do you need unbuffered/buffered/registered/ECC*? If you don’t know the answers to these questions (or how to answer them), most motherboard manufacturers will have some sort of “qualified memory vendor list” available for download, and you should stick with whatever models they have tested.

—Patrick
*for most consumer motherboards, unbuffered is fine.
 

GasBandit

Staff member
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Ehhh....no. It does depend a lot on your motherboard...and your processor. Definitely will need to know both before you go shopping, or else run the risk of having memory failures or even damaging your motherboard/CPU.

Your motherboard manual should show the maximum memory supported by the board (sometimes this maximum will change based on which CPU you are using, too!), and sometimes you can exceed what it says if the reason they didn’t go higher at press time was because the larger modules weren’t yet available in quantity, but unless you have proof that you can use larger/higher density modules than what is listed in the manual, you’re taking a risk. Type and speed (DDR3-1333/PC3-10600) are merely the starting point, there is still more research to do. How many channels? How many banks per channel? How many ranks per module? Do you need unbuffered/buffered/registered/ECC*?

—Patrick
*for most consumer motherboards, unbuffered is fine.
Eh, he said he had 2 free slots, and was currently at 8, so I assumed he had two full slots with 4s in them, and thus I recommended buying two more 4s of those exact types, because you can be pretty sure they'll work.
 
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Eh, he said he had 2 free slots, and was currently at 8, so I assumed he had two full slots with 4s in them, and thus I recommended buying two more 4s of those exact types, because you can be pretty sure they'll work.
That is very good advice...IF his board/processor can support >8GB, don’t force the memory bus to downclock when moving from 2 to 4 modules, there’s no physical/electrical/thermal restriction preventing all 4 slots from being filled, and you are taking into account the number of channels/ranks the system can handle.

I mean, yes, getting two more of the same module is probably fine, but there’s no guarantee.

—Patrick
 

GasBandit

Staff member
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That is very good advice...IF his board/processor can support >8GB, don’t force the memory bus to downclock when moving from 2 to 4 modules, there’s no physical/electrical/thermal restriction preventing all 4 slots from being filled, and you are taking into account the number of channels/ranks the system can handle.

I mean, yes, getting two more of the same module is probably fine, but there’s no guarantee.

—Patrick
I've never had it not be fine. And I've built a few. If he's got 4 slots of DDR3, I'd be extremely surprised if it could not handle 4 4s. 4 8s I might want to double check... but 4 4s is almost a sure thing.
 
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There isn’t even a guarantee that 2x8, or even 1x8 would work, which is annoying because you normally get better performance running 2x8 instead of 4x4 due to reduced load/latency on the memory bus. Plenty of DDR3 machines can’t handle when an individual module is > 4GB (the “density” issue), and some boards with 4 slots can’t support > 8GB and just have the 4 slots so you can go 4x2GB.
So again, RTM B4 you RAM.

—Patrick
 
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Just ordered an MSI X470 mobo, a Ryzen 5 2600x and 16 jiggabites of DDR4.

I'm pretty into the fact that the Ryzen chips offer a pretty substantial boost over my 8 year old processor without breaking the bank too much. Stupid money.
 
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According to discogs,

Collection Value:*
Min: $2,703.54 Med: $5,345.55 Max: $13,484.13

I might have played a dozen or so albums since the move. Playing them at my most convenient to me hours and/or at my preferred volume is not viable, no will it be in the foreseeable future. It's time to put the sunk-cost fallacy to the test and cut ties. And then what? How about...

Even though my Tom's Hardware build has served me extremely well, it was a 2011 build. It's time to move on. That $1K rig should be pretty sweet.
 
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I haven't even watched this video, but yes it is definitely a good time to be building a new PC. I started taping out what I want months ago (spoiler alert--It does NOT contain anything from the NVIDIA 20xx-series) but it totaled up about $1500 and it's not like I have $2k worth of unused vinyl sitting around (ok maybe I do I have no idea...but not all of it is mine!) HOWEVER that was before graphics card prices started to return to normal levels, so it might be time to revisit that spec sheet hmmm....

--Patrick
 
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Logicalincrements (I swear they don't pay me) has two builds up built around current end-of-year promotions, for 700 and about 1500 dollars. Check them out Here.
 
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After a bit more reading, and hearing VRM a whole lot more than I thought I would, I'm going with the MSI B450 Tomahawk instead of that Gigabyte B450 Aorus Elite. Since I plan on overclocking, that extra money spent now should save heartache later.

And from @Bubble181's list, that RX 580 looks like a decent option as the 1070s disappear from stock. And at half the price.
 
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The RX580 is a decent card for 1080p gaming, it's just based on a design from 2016 (the RX4x0 series) that's been tweaked and retweaked over and over again and so it doesn't really bring anything new and its performance is only about on par with a GTX1060 (but with a noticeably higher power draw). If you plan on overclocking, see if you can get an RX590, which is essentially a superclocked RX580 but fabbed on a smaller process (RX590=12nm, RX580=14nm).

AMD's best card for gaming right now is actually the Vega 56 (The Vega 64 may be better for mining/compute loads, but the difference in gaming isn't big enough to justify the price/heat increase). NVIDIA's best bang-for-buck card is still the 1070ti (currently available for $400-450 if you look around), but trying to guess actual stock levels of GTX10x0 cards is a huge mystery because when GPU mining finally started tanking, it left NVIDIA sitting on a huge pile of leftover GTX10x0 cards which they are essentially ignoring because they want you to forget about those and buy their new 20x0-series instead.

I don't know what your price target is, but I wanted to make sure you knew what was up. :)

--Patrick
 
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I don't know what your price target is, but I wanted to make sure you knew what was up.
I'd rather not spend $300+ on a GPU if I can help it. My "monitor" is actually the 43" Sharp/Roku TV, so it's limited to 1080p and 60Hz no matter what. With the amount I game, spending that much on a GPU is gonna be a waste anyway. I still want something relatively decent, however.
 
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My 1060 3-gig is perfectly fine for 1080p gaming, and only costs $200.
Yes, but if you’re just now climbing into a brand new video card, the current VRAM recommendation seems to be “whatever is more than 5GB” since newer games are already starting to outgrow cards with only 3GB or 4GB of VRAM. From that article:
Last in line we have Vermintide 2 which consumed about 9GB of RAM, while VRAM usage was relatively low at 5.5 GB.
Note that V2 is the least taxing title in the list. (Note also that they ran all the tests at 4K, so 1080p users should expect VRAM usage of only about 1/3 the listed amount, meaning 1080p V2 should use about 2GB VRAM).

I mean, getting “only” a 1060 3GB is still going to be better than getting a GTX1050, GTX970, or RX570/560, but if stepping up to 6GB or 8GB on the GPU won’t add much to the price, you probably should (since unlike system RAM you can’t increase VRAM later when you have more funds without replacing the entire card).

—Patrick
 

GasBandit

Staff member
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Yes, but if you’re just now climbing into a brand new video card, the current VRAM recommendation seems to be “whatever is more than 5GB” since newer games are already starting to outgrow cards with only 3GB or 4GB of VRAM. From that article:

Note that V2 is the least taxing title in the list. (Note also that they ran all the tests at 4K, so 1080p users should expect VRAM usage of only about 1/3 the listed amount, meaning 1080p V2 should use about 2GB VRAM).

I mean, getting “only” a 1060 3GB is still going to be better than getting a GTX1050, GTX970, or RX570/560, but if stepping up to 6GB or 8GB on the GPU won’t add much to the price, you probably should (since unlike system RAM you can’t increase VRAM later when you have more funds without replacing the entire card).

—Patrick
I play vermintide 2 just fine at 60 fps. Techspot just has no concept of a budget for a PC under $1000.
 
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I mean, I get where you’re coming from. Who in their right mind really NEEDS a machine that can play Overwatch at full 4K res with a guaranteed minimum 60+ FPS? It’s the test results themselves from the article that I believe relevant when making purchasing decisions you may be stuck with for the next 3-5 years (or more).

—Patrick
 
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First batch of parts arrived. PSU ordered. I tried to order the case, but it jumped from $59.99 in my wish list to $77 in the moment it took to go from add to cart to checkout. AND it lost prime shipping. Sent a nastygram to the seller and canceled the order.
 
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Everything is on hand except the new GPU. I went ahead and did the build. Meet (Insert Name Here)

AMD Ryzen 2600 @ stock (With the Wraith Stealth cooler, that's the only real option.)
MSI B450 Tomahawk motherboard
16 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 RAM
1TB WD Blue M.2 SSD (The 2TB HDD will go in after the install is done for video storage.)
Same old R7 360 video card pending either turntable sale or payday.
Corsair Carbide 270R case. Solid panel, no window.
 
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Reminds me of my wife’s build. Case, Motherboard, PSU, CPU/Fan, M.2 stick, RAM, and that was everything. I had to keep pausing because the case was so empty and I felt like I was leaving something out. No disk nor disc drives, no SATA cables everywhere, no sound or Ethernet card, not even a GPU. Just lots of empty space.

—Patrick
 
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Replaced the CPU cooler with the MSI Core Frozr L. The same cooler Gamers Nexus uses in their case evaluation test suite. Temps immediately dropped 10-20C.
 
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Building a new system? Make sure you go at least hexacore.
Not building a new system? Consider whether upgrading to a minimum of 16-32GB RAM, switching to an NVMe-based SSD, or upgrading the GPU to a GTX1660 Ti or better will make enough of a difference, and if the answer is that none of them will, then it's time to put all upgrades on hold until you can build a new system with at least 6 cores.

--Patrick
 
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