First time building a windows gaming computer.

Yerk

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 6, 2012
2
0
I am looking to invest in a windows gaming computer. I was thinking about buying a iMac computer but it seems a PC is going to be my better option. I am a sophomore in high school and have almost no experience with building computers or the components needed. I have about a $2000 budget and am looking for any advise on what I should start out with and build with. I need to be able to run games like WoW and SC2. So where and what should I start out with?
 

-tWv-

macrumors 68000
May 11, 2009
1,582
1
Ohio
That's an awesome budget for a sophomore in high school. You're lucky!

Don't ruin your brand new custom built computer with Windows OS. Build a Hackintosh!! There's a brand new buyers guide out by tonymacx86 with all the latest ivy bridge parts. If you need windows just dual boot. It's the best of both worlds!

I just finished mine a few weeks ago (first time build as well) and it was relatively painless, no major hiccups and a great experience. I play WoW and it runs great

My build cost just under $900, so you could build one heck of a machine with the $$ that you have. Looks like one of the CustoMac Pro builds that tonymacx86 has in the buyers guide would be perfect.

Here's a post I wrote about building my hackintosh in another thread, I just copied it over.


My Post
Here's my build specs:

Processor: Intel Core i5 3.3ghz quad core processor with Intel 3000 graphics
Motherboard: Gigabyte Intel GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3
Graphics: Gigabyte HD 6850 1GB DDR5
Hard Drive: 1TB Seagate Barracude 7200rpm
SSD: Crucial M4 64GB
RAM: 2x4GB G.SKILL Ripjaws series 1333mhz memory
Case: Cooler Master Storm Enforcer
PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W
Wireless: TP-LINK TL-WDN4800 Wireless N Dual Band Adapter (Worked OOB!)

Research:
I've really wanted to build a hackintosh for a few years now, but getting OSX installed had been quite difficult up until recently. It was because of that fact that I held off and didn't build one sooner, but reading a recent lifehacker article sparked my interest again. Lifehacker recently updated this post with instructions on how to build and get a hackintosh up and running with the latest version of Lion. They recommended looking at the builds on tonymacx86's forum so I spent a few hours looking at what other people had done, and chose parts that others had used successfully. After that I double checked compatibility and ordered the parts!

Build:

I consider myself to be pretty computer savvy, but I had never built a computer from scratch before, or really done any major repairs besides RAM and HDD replacements. Because of my lack of experience, I watched probably 15 youtube videos on the same topic: how to build a PC. One that was particularly helpful was from newegg. After doing my research and reading the manuals, I felt confident enough to start building the PC.

Here's the picture of all my components still in boxes: (yes I did build this on a ping pong table)



And then a picture of the completed inside:

It looks a little messy but I really couldn't do much about some of the cords, a few were just barely long enough to get to their respective slots. I might buy some extensions to allow them to tuck behind the motherboard tray and look a little nicer. But it works! So I'm happy for now

And the front panel:


After I connected everything I was extremely nervous to hit the power button, but thankfully once I did everything booted fine and I was able to get into the BIOS no problem. I tweaked a few settings in the BIOS (recommended by tonymacx86 guides) and I installed Lion via the Unibeast Method which is extremely straightforward and much like installing Lion on a normal Mac. After that I used Multibeast (another tool from tonymacx86) to allow all the hardware on my build to work correctly. This whole process took me a couple tries to get right, but after I had a fully functional mac!

Here's the "About my Mac" Page (you have to choose a system definition, so I chose a Mac Pro, it just sounds the best :)


After I got everything working I decided to test out my hardware.



So there it is, my new hackintosh! I would encourage anyone who wants a challenge, a good learning experience, and some new hardware to try the hackintosh route, I'm glad I did.
That geek bench score was after I overclocked the processor to 4.2ghz. It was around 9500 beforehand. I recently upgraded the RAM and opted for a larger SSD just to make sure I didn't have to buy those parts later. (I'm off to college in a week and didn't want to have to deal with buying RAM and and SSD while at college)

I really would encourage you to build a Hackintosh. It's really not hard and will allow you to use OSX and Windows for gaming or whatever else you want to do. There's new guides for how to install Mountain Lion up on tonymacx86's blog and the forum there is extremely helpful if you have questions. With $2000 you will be able to build an awesome rig.
 
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arashb

macrumors 6502
May 3, 2009
256
0
I am looking to invest in a windows gaming computer. I was thinking about buying a iMac computer but it seems a PC is going to be my better option. I am a sophomore in high school and have almost no experience with building computers or the components needed. I have about a $2000 budget and am looking for any advise on what I should start out with and build with. I need to be able to run games like WoW and SC2. So where and what should I start out with?
If WoW and SC2 are your goals, get the i7-3770 and base the entire computer off this. You don't need any top of the line parts for games like these. With the intel 4000HD you probably don't even need a graphics card and if you get anything over 8GB of ram, you're wasting all your money. Games use less than 4GB of ram.

The 3770 comes in a few models... S, T and K. Only get the 3770K if you plan on overclocking, if not you're wasting your money.

Actually, seeing it's your first time don't even try overclocking.

This is how you build a computer, go to newegg.com and check the reviews for everything.
1. Choose your processor, I'd recommend the 3770, I don't have it but I built my friend a computer yesterday with it.
2. Find the socket type of the processor, the i7-3770 uses LGA 1155
3. On Newegg, find a motherboard with good reviews, socket type LGA 1155, UEFI compatible, with a PCI-E x16 slot and choose ATX for board style. Oh and make sure it is compatible with ivy bridge/sandy bridge (before the CPU and integrated graphics were independent and now they aren't)
4. Get 8GB ram with good reviews
5. Get a case you like
6. Get a power supply ~400-500 watts with a port for graphic cards, with good reviews
7. Get a solid state drive
8. CD drive if you must

Do not buy the graphics card yet, if you don't need one to run SC2 and WoW at full specs then don't buy one because if in one year you start to play a more graphic intense game your graphics card you buy now will be dated. Wait as long as you can to buy anything related to computers, prices will always drop and technology will always go up.

Honestly, you don't need 2k to build a computer to run these 2 simple games. And if you don't plan on overclocking, you don't need the best motherboard or the best ram or a high voltage power supply.
 
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cluthz

macrumors 68040
Jun 15, 2004
3,118
3
Norway
You can save yourself some cash buying a i5-3570k instead of i7-3770k.
For gaming they are pretty much equal. The 3770 will be faster in certain tasks that uses HyperThreading, like video editing, but for general use the 3570 is better value for money.
 

cirus

macrumors 6502a
Mar 15, 2011
582
0
If WoW and SC2 are your goals, get the i7-3770 and base the entire computer off this. You don't need any top of the line parts for games like these. With the intel 4000HD you probably don't even need a graphics card and if you get anything over 8GB of ram, you're wasting all your money. Games use less than 4GB of ram.

The 3770 comes in a few models... S, T and K. Only get the 3770K if you plan on overclocking, if not you're wasting your money.

Actually, seeing it's your first time don't even try overclocking.

This is how you build a computer, go to newegg.com and check the reviews for everything.
1. Choose your processor, I'd recommend the 3770, I don't have it but I built my friend a computer yesterday with it.
2. Find the socket type of the processor, the i7-3770 uses LGA 1155
3. On Newegg, find a motherboard with good reviews, socket type LGA 1155, UEFI compatible, with a PCI-E x16 slot and choose ATX for board style. Oh and make sure it is compatible with ivy bridge/sandy bridge (before the CPU and integrated graphics were independent and now they aren't)
4. Get 8GB ram with good reviews
5. Get a case you like
6. Get a power supply ~400-500 watts with a port for graphic cards, with good reviews
7. Get a solid state drive
8. CD drive if you must

Do not buy the graphics card yet, if you don't need one to run SC2 and WoW at full specs then don't buy one because if in one year you start to play a more graphic intense game your graphics card you buy now will be dated. Wait as long as you can to buy anything related to computers, prices will always drop and technology will always go up.

Honestly, you don't need 2k to build a computer to run these 2 simple games. And if you don't plan on overclocking, you don't need the best motherboard or the best ram or a high voltage power supply.
On a $2000 budget you can get a great gaming computer.
Do you need keyboard, mouse, speakers, etc?

Do not get the i7-3770 because it will not make any difference (or very little ~5% at most) in playing games. Invest the $100 in your graphics card where you will really notice a large difference. So many store bought computers are unbalanced, pairing expensive CPU's with inadequate GPU's, do not make the same mistake.

Do not use the Intel HD 4000 graphics, its a piece of crap. If you have the money, buy a decent, upper-mid end gpu. If you find it lacking in a year you can always crossfire or SLI it (adding another gpu--the two then work in sync to render the game).

From the poster #2, do not get the 6850, its a fairly weak card and if you have the money (which you do), I strongly reccommend you get a better GPU.

Sample List of parts.

i5 processor (unlocked edition) ($220)
8 GB ram (45)
1 TB harddrive ($100)
SSD (probably 128 GB though you can fit a 256 GB hard drive in), reccommend crucial m4 (120-240)
motherboard (150) this is honestly your preference, get full atx and make sure it has the features you want.
power supply (650 watts to 750 if you every do plan on crossfire or SLI) (80) (DO NOT BUY A CHEAP POWER SUPPLY)
case (your preference)
monitor (get a good, 1080p monitor, I personally would not cut corners here, you are going to be staring at the screen all the time, so make sure its a screen you like).
mouse
keyboard
speakers
video card-- with your budget you can afford most video cards. a 7870 (AMD) would be a cheaper choice, or a gtx 670. Honestly this comes down to personal preference and while sc2 and wow are not particularily demanding, there is no guarentee that future games will be easy on the hardware (with new game consoles coming out).

I doubt this will cost you $2000. I reccommend you ask this question on a pc forum, not a mac forum as you will get much better advice and help. Also look on the internet for other builds in your budget range. Before buying, go on a site such as toms hardware and post all the parts you are planning on buying so that the people there can check for consistancy.
 

lixuelai

macrumors 6502a
Oct 29, 2008
806
59
You are overestimating your needs. $2k will get you a ton of hardware. It is usually better to spend $1k then upgrade more frequently. The only times when that is not true is if you run some ridiculous display setups like 3x30"s etc and just must have that much horsepower.
 

Sayer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2002
981
0
Austin, TX
My custom gaming PC that was state of the art last year cost me just about $1k.

That's with 8 gig RAM, single mid-range video card and unlocked (overclock-ready) CPU (i5 2500-K).

Granted I had an old PC case (I know it looks funny, but hey it was free), but I went with closed-loop liquid cooling for the CPU, a beefy PSU and some case mod stuff (extra fans, internal lighting, special fan grill that goes in the CD-ROM drive bays.

I didn't go top-of-the-line for the RAM with ultra low latency, I went more midrange and didn't get a RAM cooling block/fan.

BTW this thing runs all my games extremeley well. That includes WoW, Diablo 3, RIFT, EVE Online, Saints Row the Third, Borderlands, APB: Reloaded, TF2, Portal, Civ 5 and tons of other Steam-based games.

Start with the motherboard, pick one thats current, then pick the CPU for it. Do you want to overclock the CPU, if not the locked versions are cheaper? Then pick your Video card. And then storage (RAID needs more power). Then get a power supply with enough power to run everything with room to spare (dont forget your fans/cooling will use power, so figure all that in).

BTW I got the Win 7 Home Premium 64bit "System Builder" edition of Windows from Amazon, it was slightly cheaper and it works fine for me. The ultimate versions really doesn't add any value for a gaming PC imho.

http://www.overclock.net/lists/display/view/id/4257205
 
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GroundLoop

macrumors 68000
Mar 21, 2003
1,561
35
Here is the PC that I am building for myself this weekend (just ordered all of the parts):

CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K (you could go with a 2600k or 3770k)
Motherboard: Asus P9X79 Deluxe (you could go for a Asus Z77 Sabertooth - I like the look)
GPU: EVGA GTX 670 FTW
Cooler: Corsair H100
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4x4GB) - I did this as my system is quad-channel
Case: Cooler Master Cosmos II (you can go with a CM Storm Trooper)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 1000w Platinum
Storage: Reusing my 160GB SSD and 2TB drives from my old Mac Pro

Can't wait to see how it performs overclocked to ~4.5 GHz

GL
 
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dkersten

macrumors 6502a
Nov 5, 2010
589
2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPIXAtNGGCw

Check this out before you do anything. It was extremely helpful to me when I built my first computer.

Second, don't go wild on parts. Your games aren't really that graphics intensive so an i5, mid range video card, and 8GB of RAM would be fine. Don't underestimate a good monitor(s), keyboard, and mouse because this is where most of your interaction will occur. Nothing ruins a computer like a crappy monitor/mouse/keyboard.

Third, have fun with it. Building and maintaining a computer is extremely rewarding. Building a well cable managed, stable computer is challenging so when you do it correctly its extremely satisfying. Also don't overlook a good case for heat dissipation/cable management and of course aesthetics