Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Building Compy, the Buildenning

Building a new computer can be a daunting task, especially if you've never done it before. Fortunately, it's easier than ever to put together a machine the way you want at a price that fits your budget...

Previously we looked at some basics for researching the individual components that go into your computer, today we're going to take a look at two potential builds. One built around AMD's AM3/AM3+ socket and the other Intel's LGA 1150. I built both of these with a budget of $500 each, with the purpose of creating a solid machine which can be scaled up in the future with various upgrades to increase performance.

Now, let's take a look at the two builds. Each starts with the same case and power supply. An NZXT S340 and XFX XTR 650w fully modular PSU. I use these myself, and for a budget minded PC with room to grow they're pretty much my go to choice for each. I also started each build with an inexpensive SSD from Sandisk.Now, let's look at the AMD build...

There's pros and cons to whichever system you choose, AMD tends to be more forgiving on the wallet. However, AMD Processors are notoriously hot. They also draw more power, however the difference in power between an AMD and comparable Intel chip is not significant enough to warrant the price difference over a reasonable amount of time.

Motherboard: MSI 970 Gaming
Processor: AMD FX-6300
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
RAM: G Skill Ripjaws X Series 8gb DDR3-1866
Storage: Sandisk 128gb SSD
ADDITIONAL Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB, 7200 RPM Internal HD
Power Supply: XFX XTR 650w
Case: NZXT S340

PRICE: $508.59 (After $35 Mail-in Rebates)


As mentioned above, Intel systems are more efficient with their power. Which means that over time (think years) the upfront cost of picking the Intel system breaks even in terms of your utility bill. However, that doesn't mean there are no advantages to Intel based systems, the premium cost of an Intel chip generally means a boost in performance. The two tend to perform better in different environments because of the architecture that they focus on, so depending on your needs you may prioritize one over the other.

Motherboard: ASUS Z97-A LGA 1150
Processor: Intel Core I3-4130 3.4 Ghz, Dual Core
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
RAM: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8gb DDR 3-1600
Storage: Sandisk 128gb SSD
Power Supply: XFX XTR 650w
Case: NZXT S340

PRICE: $512.31 (After $35 Mail-in Rebates)


At this point the economy of the AMD system shines, after getting the essentials I nearly had enough to grab Windows, I however opted to add a Seagate 1TB Hard Drive, this hybrid storage setup is pretty common these days offering something fast to run the OS and favorite games while offering a large space to dump the less often used software and general clutter files like pictures, videos, and music.

You'll also notice that at this price point the AMD has 6 Cores VS the 2 of the Intel Processor, however don't let that distract you. The Intel chip is actually quite capable, unfortunately it IS still more expensive than the AMD chip. Additionally, a beefier motherboard was also in order (the Z97 series is a fave for a reason).

Either machine can be upgraded from here quite easily though, another memory kit for each would push them to 16gigs. A bigger processor like the AMD 8350 or an i5. Another or even a larger SSD is another possibility. And of course there's the cooling solutions to keep things stable, the current cooler is more than capable but upgrading the Case fans or even adding liquid cooling is an option down the road.

Still, I feel like there's something vital that's missing...

Of course! Video cards! Unfortunately, that's all the time we have today, but be sure to check the next installment when we'll discuss all things video. And remember...

Always Be Closing

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