Need advice - trying to go PC but can't

Discussion in 'iMac' started by rawdawg, May 22, 2017.

  1. rawdawg macrumors 6502

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    #1
    For months I've been trying to build a PC for Davinci Resolve. I've been so concerned about components not working together this whole time I've wasted dozens of hours "researching". I'm terrified of spending dozens of more hours configuring a system once I put it together.

    Is it really as complicated as I'm making it out to be? Will I be certain to have to deal with countless additional hours "fixing things" during the life of this PC?

    I don't want to buy Apple's outdated & expensive products any longer. But is it worth considering the 5k iMac (as slow as it is comparative to a similarly priced custom PC) simply because it will work turnkey? I said I was through with Apple, but just want a computer that works...... that I can afford!!!!
     
  2. QueenTyrone macrumors 6502

    QueenTyrone

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    Sep 21, 2016
    #2
    There's YouTube videos on building a pc and it's literally like putting together legos. If you get dependable items you won't have to worry. I built my last pc in 2012 and it's still going strong, just updated some of my ssds and hds and gpu to a 1070 since I didn't need a 1080
     
  3. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    This is very encouraging. Thank you!
     
  4. Vegas Actual macrumors newbie

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    Jul 23, 2007
    #4
    I love my Apple products, but I also build PC's and absolutely love the process. After all your time spent researching, let's see your list of hardware choices and I'll let you know if it's as easy (or difficult) as you think it might be.
     
  5. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Awesome! This is what I'm trying to build. I don't think I'll need a 1080Ti unless others disagree about how it may be much better and last longer. I only do smaller 4k Projects, so this doesn't have to be a monster machine.

    I don't even think I need a 512Gb M.2 SSD because my current Mac Mini only has 256GB SSD and that's not even filled --- and this PC I plan on ONLY using for DaVinci Resolve and Adobe, everything else and all other programs (including web surfing) will be done on my Mac Mini. My confusion is what should I do for a cache disk since there's only one M.2 slot. Do most/all motherboards only have (1) M.2 slot? Would a normal SSD perform just as well? What's the difference between a cache disk and a scratch disk anyhow?

    Considering I thought the M.2 slot is soooo much faster would it make sense to just get a large M.2 SSD and have the cache disk the same as the OS? I know you read everywhere they should be separate but wouldn't the M.2 speed make up for performance loss compared to having a normal SSD?
     

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  6. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

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    #6
    You're "holding the question wrong." You're comparing purchasing an off-the-shelf computer to designing and building a custom-built PC. How difficult would it be for you to buy an off-the-shelf Windows PC that suits your needs? If it's easy, and you can save a meaningful amount of cash, then go right ahead.

    If, however, you can only afford the computer you want by purchasing parts and cobbling them together, it doesn't matter if you build a Hackintosh or a custom Windows PC. It's not the OS, it's not the "greed" of the manufacturers, it's the budget. In the end, maybe you'd be better off earning the extra money doing something you do like.

    The process of designing and building your own computer is your main challenge. If you've been enjoying it, go right ahead and do it. The knowledge and skills you gain can enrich your life. If it seems a chore, then maybe it's the wrong hobby for you.
     
  7. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    I understand your point, and realize my position is one of frustration. To be specific, no, I do not enjoy building computers nor do I ever plan on this being a hobby of mine. I have too many other interests and obligations. But I enjoy spending a ton of money on outdated equipment even less (Apple), and am frustrated PC manufacturers don't have the specs I need unless I spend a ton on other unneeded stuff as well.

    I guess I simply want to know how much of a hassle building a PC will be. I don't enjoy a lot of things I end up doing but it makes sense so long as I know what I'm getting myself into.

    (For example, I don't enjoy changing my oil but that's something anyone can do and I do a better job for cheaper than if I brought my car somewhere.)
     
  8. zone23 macrumors 68000

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    May 10, 2012
    #8
    My advise is this: its not as hard as you might think it is, and stick to name brand components. In my experience the motherboard and RAM manufacture is at the top of the scale in importance (get good ones). The rest kind of falls into place with obvious you get what you pay for but don't over pay.
     
  9. QueenTyrone macrumors 6502

    QueenTyrone

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    Sep 21, 2016
    #9
    I would stray away from the gigabyte gpu and the mobo seems good enough, what is your budget If you don't mind me asking?
     
  10. theluggage macrumors 68030

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    Jul 29, 2011
    #10
    First, as @ApfelKuchen says, of course assembling your own custom PC is more complicated and riskier (in the sense of no warranty if it goes wrong) than buying an of-the-shelf computer.

    However, I've built a number PCs over the years and it really is more IKEA than NASA. Worst bit is inserting the CPU in the motherboard, applying the thermal paste and attaching the heatsink, but that's not so much difficult as stressful (I've never actually broken a CPU or motherboard pin - but there are horror stories). Getting all the other wires hooked up is a fiddle but not mentally taxing (although last time I got my comeuppance for buying a posh case with a matte black interior which sucked in all available light while I tried to bolt in the sexy black motherboard and hook up the sexy black SATA cables to the sexy black sockets... ruddy gamers!)

    TIP 1: these days, you can usually download the motherboard manual in advance from the manufacturers website - these are usually pretty comprehensive and include details on compatible CPUs and RAM (which are the main two things to get right!) that can be hard to find hidden in all the bling on the MB makers' websites.

    TIP2: If you don't want to build completely from scratch you can get "motherboard bundles" (a motherboard with the CPU, RAM and cooler already fitted) or "barebones bundles" (CPU, cooler, RAM, PSU all fitted in a case - add your own storage and graphics card). Sorry, those links are from the UK but there are surely similar deals in the US.

    You won't get a more powerful, similarly priced custom PC with a 5k display. That's the iMac's saving grace. It's probably the best value for money that Apple offers.
     
  11. macduke macrumors 604

    macduke

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    Jun 27, 2007
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    Central U.S.
    #11
    It has been a while for me, but here's what you do: Just look at reviews and performance tests for the things that matter performance wise, such as CPU, GPU, RAM, and drive speeds. Maybe check motherboard performance if you need to overclock. Buy a case and a motherboard that fits that case type. Buy a CPU/GPU that fits the motherboard. Buy RAM that is rated to work with the motherboard. Buy SSDs/HDDs that have the proper cable to connect to the motherboard (I don't think this a problem nowadays). Get a power supply that has enough juice to run your setup. Buy a good heat sink and thermal paste for the CPU. Plug everything in where it needs to be plugged in, and screw things down where they need to be screwed down. This includes screwing in the power supply, seating the CPU and plugging in it's heat sink fan, seating the GPU and screwing in the back plate, plugging in power cords for the motherboard, sometimes I think the GPU needs an extra power cable if it's fancy, plug in your drives data and power connectors and screw in the drives. Plug in any fan connectors if your case comes with them, and if it doesn't then it might be a good idea to buy a couple fans and mount them on any mounting points in the case. I think that's all you need to do, it's not too tricky unless you bought crap components. I did that my first time, but I was in high school, didn't know any better, and was ordering from a paper Tiger Direct catalog, lol. My power supply was crap and partially fried some things and I kept thinking it was my fault. Although I'm pretty sure that 1.9GHz Pentium 4 was just being an jerk, lol. At least you have YouTube, which wouldn't exist for a few more years for me when I started, lol. Wow I sound like an old fogey right now.
     
  12. kingtj macrumors 68020

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    Brunswick, MD
    #12
    Just for one more perspective?

    I've been building PCs since the early 1990's when I worked for several small computer shops in a row as a "lead tech", assembling custom made systems, built to order, and doing repairs on them for customers.

    All of what was said below sounds pretty accurate to me. But I've got to tell you .... especially if you're building a new PC that you intend on using immediately as your main computer? The whole build process can be a roll of the dice, as to whether you're up and running the same day, or you're frustrated for weeks trying to track down issues.

    The biggest problem I've run into on multiple occasions, in the last few years, is a general lack of quality control on components. The items that they sell tons of as upgrades for existing computers (hard drives, SSDs or RAM) are usually just fine. I have far fewer headaches with "defective out of the box" or "failing in 24-48 hours" hard drives today than I did a decade or more ago. But I'm talking about motherboards and 3D video cards, in particular.

    It seems to me that no matter what brand of motherboard I've gone with, they're a regular source of headaches. EG. I purchased an ASUS board for my kid's gaming PC I built for her last year. The first board was just utterly "glitchy", right out of the box. I'd get such issues as it not wanting to power on properly the first time I pressed the power button. (Would often require I powered it on and off, waited a few seconds, and powered it back on before it would get past the initial BIOS display screen.) I exchanged it for a slightly different model and that one was much better. But it had issues with the particular AMD processor we used until they released a new BIOS update for it just to address timing issues with that one processor chip.

    Another PC I tried to build with a Gigabyte motherboard just had random stability issues. No matter what I did, it just occasionally caused Windows to freeze up in the middle of doing things. (I believe it had a defective Northbridge chip that was getting flaky when it heated up - but even after RMAing the board and receiving a supposedly "fixed" one back, it had the exact same issue. It honestly looked like Gigabyte didn't do a thing with the RMA except sit on it for a while and ship it back to me.)

    Had similar problems with high end ATI video cards, where they were "duds" out of the box or after only a few days of occasional use. They'd work great until you started doing anything demanding with them using 3D graphics. Then they'd just blue-screen the computer with a video error or freeze everything with a solid black screen.

    When this stuff goes wrong -- you tend to get all sorts of advice on how to fix it, including updating video card BIOS versions, motherboard BIOS versions, trying a new/bigger wattage power supply, re-seating cards and memory, updating drivers in Windows and more. Any of those things *may* fix these issues, but they never did in my situations. Bottom line is, it can be really frustrating and make you pull your hair out if it's not just a "spare, side project" PC you're in no hurry to get going.



     
  13. UL2RA macrumors 6502a

    UL2RA

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    May 7, 2017
    #13
    As others have said, there are literally step by step guides for building PCs ... for various purposes and budgets. YouTube is your friend here.
     
  14. Vegas Actual macrumors newbie

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    Jul 23, 2007
    #14
    Your hardware selection is perfect, I say go for it! I'm with the guy up there that says steer clear of the Gigabyte Video card, I'd go EVGA or even buy from Nvidia but aside from that, this is a smoking machine! You're going to need lots and lots of other storage space to house your 4K video files. I believe (some) Gigabyte boards come with a Thunderbolt motherboard header that you can plug in an external TB module so you can actually use external TB drives for storage, add that to your list and you'd be golden.

    Building PC's these days is pretty simple. Unless you are getting into the world of overclocking or water cooling (which it doesn't seem you are, yet) it's all self explanatory. Good luck man, you got this!
     
  15. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Brooklyn
    #15
    Hey everyone, thanks so much for your replies. QueenTyrone, my budget was $1500-2000 (not including a display).
    This is exactly why I'm so concerned. What kingtj nails it. Everyone seems to agree putting a PC together isn't rocket surgery, and yet everyone has opinions on which components are best presumably because everyone has their own experiences on what they've had problems with. I just want something that works.

    This is really the reason I was always a Mac guy. I had one PC (during the late 90's PowerPC era) and it was a real pain troubleshooting. Is the tradeoff going with a custom build really possibly an unstable PC? Is this why I should reconsider Mac? Because I'm definitely not interested in their ancient hardware and lack of respect for professional needs.
     
  16. flyinmac macrumors 68030

    flyinmac

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    #16
    I'll answer it this way....

    I've never found Apple Support experiences to be pleasant if it meant they'd have to spend money

    While anecdotal perhaps, out of literally thousands of PC's that I've either owned or been in charge of, none have ever broken down.

    Out of hundreds of Macs I've owned or been in charge of, only one has ever made it past 6 months without needing repair or service.
     
  17. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    So in your experience PCs were better built than Macs? I've only always heard the opposite.
     
  18. cynics macrumors G3

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #18
    Just goto pcpartpicker.com and "start a system build", compatibility issues will be listed. Its only as difficult as you make it.

    If you can tell us more about the projects you plan to be working on, whether they are professional, hobby, etc, the resolution, import and export file types, how many projects you'll be working on, how fast you'll need to push them out, etc etc we can really help narrow down the parts for you.

    Honestly building an editing rig is simple. The problem would be the display which for a video editing machine is the most important part. And currently you wont be able to compete with a 5k iMac if not far exceeding its price range is ok with you. 5k, p3 10 bit, 27" ips etc etc it checks most of the boxes especially for modern 4k video editing.

    For me a generic editing rig would include an Intel CPU with 6+ cores (maybe a 6800k), a mobo with integrated wifi, nVidia 1060 (1070 if I planned on a lot of after effects, 1080 if I wanted to game) in any board partner config that isnt a blower style, 512gb+ m.2 pcie or SATA3 SSD for the OS and programs, another smaller SSD for scratch and a 1-2tb or larger HDD for storage, 4x8gb DDR4, 80+ bronze or better modular power supply in the recommended wattage (optimally falling into its efficiency range while working) all in relatively large case so you can keep it very quiet and have future expansion like Bequiets Dark Base 900 (very expensive though).

    That is just off the top of my head though. Once I started throwing parts into PC part picker I would further refine it based on current prices. And things I'm forgetting (like a CPU cooler, thermal paste, SD readers, etc).
     
  19. flyinmac macrumors 68030

    flyinmac

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    #19
    From a reliability of hardware perspective, yes PC's have always been far less trouble for me.
     
  20. shaunp macrumors 65816

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    Nov 5, 2010
    #20
    I've always built my PC's in the past and even my own builds have lasted years - I've often sold them on after 5+ years and they've still been working fine. Just get good components.

    Recently however, I decided to get a PC built for me rather than spend a day or two setting it all up. For the extra £80 that it cost over the price of the components it was money well spent.

    If you are unsure how to build a PC then get someone to do it for you. There are plenty of systems builders out there that would build a PC for you and give you a good warranty on it.
     
  21. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 7, 2009
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    Brooklyn
    #21
    This is all good info, thank you everyone. My current Macs are a 2009 MBP and a 2012 Mini.... As you can imagine I'm desperate for a new system. I'm still nervous about the PC build and am wondering if I should just get an upgraded MBP after WWDC next month (since I need a laptop and figured it would be good to have a Mac available for all my Mac programs).

    I don't "need" a DaVinci Resolve workstation since it's not a source of income yet, I just figured I could build one even cheaper than a MBP. But if I get a decent laptop it could probably suffice my needs until this fall when either new iMacs come out and/or I see how much work I'm getting and how much I need a fast Resolve workstation. I can then consider the PC Build......

    I swore I'd never do Apple after the way they neglect their computers. I'm a little disappointed, but still even more nervous about a PC build. I am new to my area and don't know anyone or anyplace that would build something for me. But perhaps buying a MBP is a good route, funny how Apple has managed to place themselves where they can neglect something so much but still be in a good place for marketing...
     
  22. shaunp macrumors 65816

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    Nov 5, 2010
    #22
    A PC build isn't that hard. It's all standard parts that just go together. You just need a CPU and RAM that is compatible with your motherboard. Check out the specs of Resolve before buying anything but a lot of suppliers will sell you a bundle - CPU, Motherboard and RAM - and then it's just a case of adding some storage (probably and SSD and a Hard Disk or two), a graphics card, a power supply and a case. You then need to install Windows, which isn't as straight forward as OS X, but it's not terrible either.

    Before you buy anything though check out the requirements for Revolve as this will tell you what you need. Buy something above the minimum spec so it will last you a while.

    Watch a few youtube videos on how to build a PC also. It's fairly easy. If after this you are still unsure then just talk to a PC builder (don't know which country you are in, but if you are in the UK, Scan, Overclockers and many others can build you a great machine. It will arrive with Windows installed and all the drivers. You just need to install your apps.
     
  23. William Payne macrumors 6502

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    #23
    I am not sure of your budget but if you want a windows PC and want to just turn it on and go, maybe talk to Puget Systems at https://www.pugetsystems.com . They build systems designed around whatever software you want to use.
     
  24. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #24
    The best advice I can give to someone who is "trying to go PC but can't" is...
    ... then, don't.
     
  25. kohlson macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 23, 2010
    #25
    I mean this with all due respect - but perhaps re-examine your motives. You're taking on a "one-time" thing with a plan to never do that again. The response from everyone who say "it's easy" also seem to say they've done it many, many times. And to quote your oil change example, this is something you've done many times, and plan to do many more times. I get that - I change my own oil partly because it's cheaper, but mostly because I can do it faster than driving to a place to have it done. (Some time ago I was an auto mechanic.) In my experience, trying something because you're interested or you want to develop a new skill - go for it. But "terrified" versus paying a manufacturer to deliver one with a warranty and support? Doesn't seem like a fair equation.
     

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