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  1. #1
    bat
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    Bat’s PC Building Guide 2: Electric Boogaloo

    Hello and welcome to another in depth PC building guide. This guide will cover the basics of budgeting and building a PC. As this is a gaming community first and foremost, most of these builds will be focused on value for money. When budgeting for a PC, the most important part of the build will be the graphics card and should take up 30-40% of the budget. Decide what features you need, pick your resolution and settings.

    There are a few things I’d like to say before we get started. These prices don’t include the prices of operating systems, peripherals, or other accessories. As the market for PC components continues to grow, these prices are subject to change. If you are building a Ryzen based system, please make sure your memory is ryzen certified, otherwise it will not run at its advertised speeds and default to 2166 MHz.

    Your Power Supply should be bronze rated or higher. It isn’t worth spending several hundred dollars on a system only to have it fail because your power supply fried your motherboard. If you don’t plan on overclocking, consider dropping to a non-X or K model processor. If you plan on using a non-K processor, it’d be best to get at least a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo as it performs much better than stock and isn’t too pricey.

    Seeing as these builds are primarily focused on value, they will mainly feature AMD CPUs. Intel was previously the go-to company for CPUs, however in recent years AMD has provided serious competition and the x600 has become the 2500k of this generation.


    Recommended brands:
    Power Supplies: Corsair (some of their low tier PSUs have QC issues so beware), EVGA (avoid the SuperNova series, the brand they use for isn’t that great) SeaSonic and SuperFlower. Another note: PSUs should be double your rated power draw just in case.

    CPU Coolers/ Case Fans: Cooler Master, Noctua, Corsair and NZXT

    Mother Boards: ASUS (hit or miss, their higher tier lines are good but be careful of their low tier lines), Gigabyte, MSI, AsRock (Taichi line specifically).

    SSDs: Samsung (850 EVOs for SATA and 950 EVO/PRO for M.2 nVME)

    HDDs: Western Digital (Black or Blue if you want to save money), Seagate (hit or miss, I’ve never had a bad experience with their drives but it’s all anecdotal)

    Hitachi (Ultrastar and Desktar)

    Memory (RAM): Corsair (LPX is the best deal) and Kingston HyperX

    GPUs (Video Cards): ASUS, MSI (avoid their Armor line, it’s garbage), EVGA, Sapphire and PowerColor

    Cases: Corsair (750D, Obsidian series, and Crystal series), Fractal Design (Define R5 and Meshify C), Phanteks and Lian-Li.

    The Lists:

    Entry Level:
    $500 Budget

    Main Stream:
    $750 Budget

    Moving Up:
    $850 Budget

    Excellent:
    $1000 Budget

    High Tier:
    $1200 Budget

    Future Proof:
    $1500 Budget

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  3. #2
    SoulKeeper
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    Cases: Coolermaster
    SSD: kingston

    Are two good brands excluded.

    CPU coolers should be added to the recommended builds too, stock coolers are no bueno. At $1,500 liquid cooling isn't really necessary, and is more of a personal choice- especially if you aren't going to be overclocking. To each their own, though.

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  5. #3
    bat
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoulKeeper View Post
    Cases: Coolermaster
    SSD: kingston

    Are two good brands excluded.

    CPU coolers should be added to the recommended builds too, stock coolers are no bueno. At $1,500 liquid cooling isn't really necessary, and is more of a personal choice- especially if you aren't going to be overclocking. To each their own, though.
    Some coolermaster cases are good, with them it really depends on the product. I forgot about Kingston, both their memory and flash storage options are quality. Ryzen stock coolers are good enough for stock base/boost speeds and I only recommended AIOs because most people spending $1500 on a build have enough cash to care about aesthetics, but twin stack air coolers are also a good option for high performance OCing.

  6. #4
    Vy
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    Quote Originally Posted by bat View Post
    Your Power Supply should be bronze rated or higher. It isn’t worth spending several hundred dollars on a system only to have it fail because your power supply fried your motherboard.
    The '80 PLUS' certification and it's levels (none/white, bronze, silver, gold, platinum, titanium) do not describe whether your PSU is more or less susceptible to fucking up your motherboard, rather, they describe the efficiency of the conversion from AC to DC power. It is a better idea to trust established PSU providers that you have listed below, rather than rely on the '80 Plus' certification. Reading reviews for a specific model is, in my opinion, the most key aspect when buying them as even established providers release defective PSU's.

    Quote Originally Posted by bat View Post
    SSDs: Samsung (850 EVOs for SATA and 950 EVO/PRO for M.2 nVME)
    I concur for the 850 EVO SATA option, though I can not think of a realistic reason why you would want to go for a 950 EVO versus the newer (and cheaper) 970 EVO.

    Quote Originally Posted by bat View Post
    HDDs: Western Digital (Black or Blue if you want to save money)
    You should avoid Western Digital like the plague. A friend of mine has a graveyard full of them. The only good HDD's you can buy from WD are the ones that are made by HGST and sold under the WD brand, or as you've mentioned, just go for products with the HGST brand. Though I might be a tad biased.

    In general, I see no real reason to even consider HDD storage in this day and age. (Unless you want to run your own server) SSD's aren't all that expensive (especially when we are talking about secondary storage options) and quite frankly, cloud storage is simply more reliable. I believe 2 TB of storage from Google costs some ~10 USD per month. (OneDrive and DropBox have similar prices).

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  8. #5
    bat
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    The '80 PLUS' certification and it's levels (none/white, bronze, silver, gold, platinum, titanium) do not describe whether your PSU is more or less susceptible to fucking up your motherboard, rather, they describe the efficiency of the conversion from AC to DC power. It is a better idea to trust established PSU providers that you have listed below, rather than rely on the '80 Plus' certification. Reading reviews for a specific model is, in my opinion, the most key aspect when buying them as even established providers release defective PSU's.
    80+ ratings are generally accepted as the reliability of the power supply over efficiency, as lower rated units tend to use cheaper parts and are typically less reliable. Ratings are more for peace of mind than anything, do you really want to risk your entire build because you read one good review of a low tier part? Not to mention, anything that uses ketchup and mustard cables in the current year shouldn't even be considered.

    You should avoid Western Digital like the plague. A friend of mine has a graveyard full of them. The only good HDD's you can buy from WD are the ones that are made by HGST and sold under the WD brand, or as you've mentioned, just go for products with the HGST brand. Though I might be a tad biased.

    In general, I see no real reason to even consider HDD storage in this day and age. (Unless you want to run your own server) SSD's aren't all that expensive (especially when we are talking about secondary storage options) and quite frankly, cloud storage is simply more reliable. I believe 2 TB of storage from Google costs some ~10 USD per month. (OneDrive and DropBox have similar prices).
    HDD reliability charts are completely arbitrary and mostly luck of the draw. People say to stay away from Seagate, but my main drive is a 2tb Barracuda and hasn't failed in two+years. There are different iterations of each of the caviar series, some more reliable and some less. WD has been a front-runner in mass storage for a couple decades now and the general consensus is that they're fairly reliable. However, I will agree that $100 for a 2 TB drive in this day and age is highway robbery. As for cloud storage, I can't even fathom why you would recommend it as a main source of storage. Cloud storage companies DO NOT respect your privacy and you do not own your data, whatever company you rent storage from owns it. The only real reason to recommend cloud storage is if you're a student and want to keep all your assignments. HDDs are cheaper per gigabyte than SSDs, so it simply makes more sense for most people to use them in budget oriented builds. If you're going for silence or are a content creator and value your time then by all means go for larger SSDs, but to write off HDDs completely is nonsense.

  9. #6
    Vy
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    Quote Originally Posted by bat View Post
    [...] do you really want to risk your entire build because you read one good review of a low tier part?
    I think it goes without saying that you should research about a part a tad bit longer than it takes to read a single review. What I meant is that you should read reviews regardless of what manufacturer you buy from as from time to time they often release defective product lines.

    Now, in regards to the 80+ ranking, it doesn't rank reliability what-so-ever and you might have bad parts included in it regardless of how efficient it is at converting AC -> DC. Mind you, you are far more likely to get a bad product who hasn't been certified or has been certified to a low 80+ ranking, though it's not exactly what you should be looking for.

    You should look for 'FCC certification', 'CE certification', 'CCC certification', 'EAC certification', 'TUV certifaction', 'RCM certification'. These mean that the product has been certified in (in order) USA, Europe, China, Russia, Germany and Australia. There's more markings on the packaging that you should know, but I'll leave you to figure them out. (The knowledge will stick better that way).

    Quote Originally Posted by bat View Post
    HDD reliability charts are completely arbitrary and mostly luck of the draw. People say to stay away from Seagate, but my main drive is a 2tb Barracuda and hasn't failed in two+years.
    The person who told me the WD HDD's are complete shite is a infrastructure admin for a fairly big company, thus it is fair to say he's had a fair bit of experience. Note, that it doesn't mean that if you buy or have a WD HDD it's going to fail on you - they're simply more likely to. I've had a Macbook Pro of the same line that has caused a lot of problems to others, though it's been running fine for me these past 4 years. Shit happens.

    Quote Originally Posted by bat View Post
    As for cloud storage, I can't even fathom why you would recommend it as a main source of storage. Cloud storage companies DO NOT respect your privacy and you do not own your data, whatever company you rent storage from owns it.
    Heh... Don't put stuff on the internet you don't want others to see... though most people aren't going to be hiding secrets stored away in their HDD's. At best you'll find nudes. Another fairly convenient advantage of cloud storage is that you're able to access the information without the need to physically connect the drive to your computer... It's quite helpful if you travel a lot. In the end it's all up to personal preference... for example, I don't see a need for an HDD in the first place as 500GB of SDD storage is more than enough for me.

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  11. #7
    fantastic
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    Infrastructure admins likely have different use cases for hard drives than the traditional consumer... I've also heard rumors of Seagate drives dying relatively quickly whereas WD is fairly reliable. In any case I actually agree with the sentiment that cloud storage is a great option for long-term storage as long as you're not storing your social security number or anything sensitive on there. I use Dropbox and Google Drive for long-term photo storage for example. I probably won't ever buy another HDD again given how cheap SSDs are getting.

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